U.S. government agencies that had largely shuttered operations for five weeks during a budget standoff said on Saturday they were moving swiftly to resume operations and compensate employees for missed paychecks.
Federal workers are owed about $6 billion in back pay, according to a study released last week.
The White House held a conference call with Cabinet department financial officers late Friday to discuss the resumption of government operations, while agencies began to grapple with a backlog of management and policy issues.
The partial government shutdown – at 35 days the longest in U.S. history – led to some 800,000 federal workers going unpaid, including 380,000 furloughed workers.
President Donald Trump on Friday signed a measure to fund the government for three weeks as congressional negotiators try to hammer out a bill to fund the federal government through Sept. 30. Trump had demanded $5.7 billion in funding for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, but Democratic legislators refused to include the money.
The White House Office of Management and Budget’s acting chief, Russell Vought, told agencies in a memo to reopen “in a prompt and orderly manner.”
Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb wrote Saturday on Twitter that the agency would send back pay to staffers no later than Thursday.
Gottlieb told employees the FDA would hold an all-hands meeting on Tuesday. “There will be impacts from this prolonged lapse in funding,” he wrote. “But this agency has always faced challenge.”
The Coast Guard told personnel it was “working through the weekend to process your pay as quickly as possible” and said back pay should be received by Thursday