U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel issued a message to defense workers last week, welcoming the employees back to their normal duties following the government shutdown and subsequent reopening of the government.
“I know that each of your lives has been disrupted and affected in different ways,” Hagel said. “I regret the impact that this shutdown had on so many of our civilian personnel, particularly those who I was previously unable to recall from emergency furlough… Now that this latest budget crisis has come to an end, we have an opportunity to return to focusing on the critical work of this department… My hope is that [Congress] will realize that these kinds of crises do great damage to our people, our national security, our economy, and America’s standing in the world. Congress has a responsibility to govern, and it must fulfill those basic responsibilities in order to keep our country strong.”
The government reopened last week after the 16-day shutdown that drained, according to figures from Standard & Poor’s, $24 billion from the U.S. economy and cut projected fourth-quarter GDP growth by 0.6 percent, according to TIME.
Federal employees classified as “non-essential” were furloughed, while those deemed essential were required to work without pay. After paychecks are restored, some federal workers deemed essential will receive overtime pay, and back pay will be issued on Oct. 29, NBC Washington reports.