Obama Welcomes End To Standoff, Urges Congress To Change Its Way - WSPA.com

Obama Welcomes End To Standoff, Urges Congress To Change Its Ways

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Federal workers return to their jobs Thursday after Congress reaches an agreement to end the government shutdown. Federal workers return to their jobs Thursday after Congress reaches an agreement to end the government shutdown.
WASHINGTON -

Obama Welcomes End To Standoff, Urges Congress To Change Its Ways

President Barack Obama says the partial government shutdown "inflicted unnecessary damage" on the U.S. economy and hurt America's credibility around the world.

And now that it's over, Obama says leaders in Washington should focus on a budget, immigration reform and a farm bill.

The president laid out his agenda at the White House this morning, hours after signing a bill reopening the government and averting a default.

He also decried the partisan rancor that led to the 16-day partial shutdown and brought the nation to the brink of default. He says the nation's credit rating was jeopardized, economic growth and hiring slowed and federal workers were deprived of paychecks because of "yet another self-inflicted crisis."

Obama says the American people "are completely fed up with Washington" and the way business is done in the capital must change.

The president says the first matter Congress has to deal with is reaching a budget agreement so there won't be another standoff early next year when the temporary measure runs out.

Congressional negotiators started discussing that this morning, when Congress' four top budget writers met over breakfast.

Federal Workers To Get Back Pay In Next Paycheck

Federal workers who were furloughed or worked without pay during the shutdown will get back pay in their next paychecks, which for most employees come Oct. 29.

The timeline announced Thursday means workers will have to wait nearly two weeks to recover back wages. Some union officials say that's a hardship for many who have bills to pay. The National Treasury Employees Union is asking agencies to issue retroactive paychecks next week.

The measure ending the shutdown also lets federal workers get a 1 percent pay raise in January - their first pay increase since salaries were frozen in 2010. The legislation keeps on track a plan for raises that President Barack Obama laid out earlier this year.

Federal Workers Back To Work After 16-day Shutdown

Hundreds of thousands of furloughed federal workers are returning to work across the country after 16 days off the job.   

The Office of Personnel Management announced that workers should return to work on their next regularly scheduled work day, noting that is Thursday for most workers. The workers have been furloughed since the partial government shutdown began Oct. 1.

The office is encouraging agencies to be flexible for a smooth transition by allowing telework and excused absences in some cases.

The workers presence will be felt on the roads and rails in the Washington region, where commutes have been less crowded over the past two weeks. Metro reported a 20 percent drop in ridership when the shutdown began and has said it lost a few hundred thousand dollars each day.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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