(Washington, DC)  --  Across the U.S., furloughed federal employees are returning to work after Congress ended the partial shutdown of the government.  

Vice President Joe Biden and White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough greeted federal employees at offices in Washington, DC.  The 16-day furlough officially came to a close shortly after midnight when President Obama signed legislation extending government funding through mid-January.  

The bipartisan measure also extends the federal debt ceiling into early February.  The government faced the prospect of default without an increase in the nation's borrowing authority.