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Government, workers back in business for now

Oct. 17, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
By JOHN BACON   |   Comments
The sun rises as seen behind the Capitol building on Thursday morning after a bipartisan bill was passed by the House and the Senate to reopen the government and raise the debt limit.
The sun rises as seen behind the Capitol building on Thursday morning after a bipartisan bill was passed by the House and the Senate to reopen the government and raise the debt limit. (Jewel Samad / AFP)

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Federal buildings, parks and programs across the nation were creaking back into service Thursday, hours after congressional leaders brokered a deal to reopen the government, at least for a few months.

Office of Management and Budget Director Sylvia Burwell issued a memorandum announcing that the hundreds of thousands of federal workers who had been furloughed were to return to work Thursday.

"This has been a particularly challenging time for Federal employees and I want to thank our Nation's dedicated civil servants for their continued commitment to serving the American people," Burwell said in a statement.

Twitter was alive with the news from departments and institutions heralding their reopenings -- most including exclamation points.

Yosemite National Park kept it short and sweet: "Yosemite National Park is open!"

NASA: We're back and in the process of turning things back on! http://www.nasa.gov and #NASA TV will be up as soon as possible!

Smithsonian: "We're back from the #shutdown! Smithsonian museums will reopen on Thursday and the @NationalZoo will reopen on Friday."

At 7 a.m., Lisa Jenkins, of McLean, Va., was back on the job in IT with the Environmental Protection Agency. She was furloughed when the government shutdown began Oct. 1.

"At first we thought the shutdown might last forever, then when they decided they would pay us for the time we missed we thought it might be settled more quickly," Jenkins says. Jenkins, who spent much of her furlough time working on a rural Virginia home she and her husband are converting into a bed and breakfast, has worked at the EPA for 23 years and says she loves her job.

"I am just happy to be back at work," she says.

By John Bacon writes for USA TODAY.

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