Most government employees on leave are Democrats

Despite budget dispute: Pentagon calls employees back

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced in Washington that "most" of the approximately 400,000 employees of the Pentagon should go back to work on Monday. These are civilian employees whose work contributes "to the morale, well-being and readiness of the armed forces". Hagel did not provide any further details. He assumes that "we will significantly reduce the number of civilians on leave, but not eliminate them," the Pentagon said in a statement.

The basis of the recall, according to Hagel, is the "Pay Our Military" law, which President Barack Obama had only signed on Monday, one day before the start of the budget blockade. The law is actually supposed to ensure that members of the US military receive their pay even in the event of a "shutdown".

Obama calls for an end to the blockades

With his announcement, Hagel responded to one of the rare acts of unanimity between Obama's Democrats and opposition Republicans in the House of Representatives. With 407 votes to zero, the long-divided MPs passed a bill that would allow the 800,000 US government employees who have been sent on forced leave to receive their salaries retrospectively once the budget dispute is resolved. Observers assume that the draft will also pass the Senate and then be signed by Obama.

In his weekly video message, he called for an end to the budget dispute and the paralysis of the US administration. "Stop this farce," said Obama. Meanwhile, the budget crisis reached international politics. The second round of negotiations with the European Union on a free trade area was postponed, and Obama canceled a long-planned trip to Asia.

Will the Republicans give in on the debt ceiling?

An agreement is not in sight. Both sides accuse themselves of blocking negotiations to settle the dispute. The Republicans insist on further savings and above all want to prevent Obama's health care reform. The Democrats declare this non-negotiable.

However, when it comes to the second major point of contention, the raising of the debt ceiling, Obama expects to give in. He does not expect the Republicans, who have a majority in the House of Representatives, to cause the world's largest economy to default, the president said in an interview with the AP news agency. He expects Congress to raise the ceiling from the current $ 16.7 trillion by October 17th. If this does not happen, the US will no longer be able to borrow or service bonds. There is a risk of default with unforeseeable consequences for the global economy.

gmf / haz (afp, dpa, rtr)