6 Oct 2013

US defence staff to return to work

2:41 pm on 6 October 2013

Most of the 400,000 US defence department staff sent home in the US government shutdown will go back to work next week.

It follows a legal review of the military's exemption from the closure of services caused by a budget dispute in Congress.

US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel said the decision was based on an interpretation of the Pay Our Military Act, the BBC reports.

The legislation was passed by Congress shortly before the shutdown and Mr Hagel said earlier in the week he wanted to find a way to get his civilian staff back to work.

Federal services were closed down on Tuesday and 800,000 federal workers sent home without salaries after Congress failed to agree a new budget.

The House of Representatives on Saturday approved by 407-0 a bill to give back pay to the federal workers once the shutdown ends, but there remains no sign of any deal on the federal budget.

Republicans who control the House of Representatives have refused to approve the budget, saying they would only do so if President Barack Obama's healthcare reform law was delayed or stripped of funding.