Some civilian employees at Scott Air Force Base found themselves on a temporary leave of absence Monday morning shortly before Senate lawmakers voted to end a partial shutdown after a weekend of failed negotiations.
“We were really hoping it wouldn’t come to this,” said Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Kaleth O. Wright. “And now we’re hoping that that today will be a paperwork drill and we’ll have everyone back to work tomorrow.”
Roughly 1,500 of the base’s 5,000 civilian workers were affected by the shutdown, according to base spokeswoman Karen Petitt.
Senate lawmakers agreed on a deal Monday to reopen the federal government after postponing a vote Sunday. The stopgap bill must also be approved by the House before being finalized. The bill would keep money flowing for three weeks. The shutdown went into effect midnight Friday and was expected to affect about a million government personnel nationwide.
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No members of the military were affected by the furloughs, but the the shutdown could affect their paychecks, Petitt said. Whether civilians who worked through the shutdown would receive their pay was undetermined as of Monday morning.
Flight operations, national security and public safety efforts at the base were not affected by the shutdown, according to a post on the base’s Facebook page.
Wright was working Monday to share Airmen’s stories with government leaders, he said in a post on Facebook.
“It’s my responsibility to represent all Airmen on matters affecting or concerning the enlisted force,” Wright wrote. “I take that responsibility seriously, so today will be spent ensuring your voices are heard.”
Air Force leaders issued a letter to Airmen on Saturday saying the furloughs “do not reflect how important you are to our team.”
In St. Louis, the Gateway Arch and Old Courthouse, which are part of the National Park Service, closed after the shutdown. The sites were expected to reopen as soon as the shutdown ended.