BOSTON (CBS) — U.S. Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass., offered praise for the Pentagon’s decision Saturday to return most furloughed Department of Defense civilians workers to their jobs after the weekend.

DOD furloughed several hundred thousand civilian workers after the partial federal government shutdown began at midnight Monday.

On Saturday, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel directed most DOD civilian employees to return to work after Pentagon lawyers determined the Pay Our Military Act signed into law last week gave him the authority to “allow the Department of Defense to eliminate furloughs for employees whose responsibilities contribute to the morale, well-being, capabilities and readiness of service members,” Hagel said in a prepared statement.

“I am announcing that most DOD civilians placed on emergency furlough during the government shutdown will be asked to return to work beginning next week,” he said.

Massachusetts employs nearly 7,000 civilians and thousands of additional contractors at a half dozen military bases and other businesses and facilities across the state, according to a prepared statement from Markey on Saturday afternoon.

“This is the right decision for the hundreds of thousands of patriots who support our soldiers, and now it’s time to end this harmful government shutdown that has left hundreds of thousands of other federal workers sitting at home,” Markey said.

In New Hampshire and Maine, hundreds of DOD civilian workers were furloughed this week, including employees at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine.


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