WASHINGTON — Rep. Lee Terry hailed the news Saturday that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel was ordering the recall of most civilian defense workers who had received emergency furloughs.
Terry, R-Neb., had strongly criticized the Obama administration for sending many civilian workers home, despite language in legislation enacted earlier in the week aimed at exempting those employees.
“There was no reason for these workers to be illegally furloughed,” Terry said in a statement.
He noted that he had sent a letter to President Barack Obama calling his attention to the matter.
“I am glad that my effort helped reboot America and got our military back on line and back to full strength,” Terry said.
He said furloughed federal employees will receive retroactive pay under legislation approved Saturday by the House, 407-0.
Hagel said the Pentagon's move would significantly reduce but not completely eliminate civilian defense employee furloughs.
He said the decision followed advice from government lawyers who had reviewed the legislation signed into law earlier in the week.
“We will continue to try to bring all civilian employees back to work as soon as possible,” Hagel said in a statement.
“Ultimately the surest way to end these damaging and irresponsible furloughs, and to enable us to fulfill our mission as a department, is for Congress to pass a budget and restore funds for the entire federal government.”