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Pentagon Calls 400,000 Furloughed Employees Back to Work

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The furlough is coming to an end for nearly half of the federal government workers.

The Pentagon has called back approximately 400,000 civilian employees.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who made the announcement Saturday, said he made the decision by using a legal interpretation of a law called the Pay Our Military Act.

Secretary Hagel said in a statement, "The Department of Defense consulted closely with the Department of Justice, which expressed its view that the law does not permit a blanket recall of all civilians. However, DOD and DOJ attorneys concluded that the law does allow the Department of Defense to eliminate furloughs for employees whose responsibilities contribute to the morale, well-being, capabilities, and readiness of service members."

The law was passed by Congress and signed by President Obama just before the shutdown began.

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We have tried to exempt as many DoD civilian personnel as possible from furloughs. We will continue to try to bring all civilian employees back to work as soon as possible. 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.   

ABC News Radio