Congress has reached an agreement to end the partial shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration that has left 640 FAA employees at the William J. Hughes Technical Center out of work.

An unknown number of contractors from the tech center have also been out of work since "stop work" orders were issued for 27 contracts at the Egg Harbor Township facility.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the bipartisan compromise was reached Thursday. The deal would allow the Senate to approve a House bill extending the FAA's operating authority through mid-September, including a provision that cuts $16.5 million in air service subsidies to rural communities.

Republicans had insisted on the cuts as their price for restoring the FAA to full operation. But the cuts may become moot.

Democrats said they expect the White House to effectively waive or negate the cuts, which would allow continued service to 13 communities affected by the provision.

"This is a tremendous victory for American workers everywhere," Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement.

Robert Challender, president of the American Federation of Government Employees Local 200, which represents 14 tech center employees, said it was a relief to hear a deal has been reached.

"Obviously, we're very optimistic, though I have not heard the details of the deal at this time," Challender said Thursday afternoon.

Challender said getting employees back to work is the first priority but said questions remain about when the affected employees might receive backpay for the days they missed.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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