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Defense contractors scale back furloughs

Lockheed Martin said Monday that it is furloughing about 2,400 workers due to the government shutdown — 20 percent less than the defense contractor initially planned — because the Department of Defense recalled most of its civilian employees to work.

Another defense contractor, United Technologies Corp., said Sunday that it was canceling its plans to furlough 2,000 workers after U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced Saturday that most of the nearly 400,000 civilian Department of Defense workers are considered essential for national security. 

Lockheed Martin, based in Bethesda, Md., had said Friday it would furlough 3,000 employees. Of the 2,400 employees being furloughed, about 2,100 work on civilian agency programs and 300 work on Department of Defense programs. While most of the workers being furloughed are based in the Washington, D.C., area, the affected employees are located throughout 27 states. 

On Monday there appeared to be little hope for a deal to end the government shutdown after the weekend passed with no compromises made. Speaker John Boehner on Sunday ruled out a vote in the House of Representatives on a bill to increase the borrowing authority of the U.S. government without concessions from President Barack Obama. 

On the same day, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said President Obama has not changed his opposition to coupling a bill to re-open the government and raise the nation's borrowing limit with Republican demands for changes in the health care law and spending cuts. 

Lawmakers have until Oct. 17 to increase the nation's debt ceiling. Failure to strike a deal could cause the United States to miss payments on its debt. The Treasury warned last week that a debt default could push the economy into a downturn even worse than the Great Recession. 

"We continue to urge Congress and the Administration to come to an agreement that funds the government as soon as possible," Lockheed Martin said in a statement.