As servicemembers were beginning to worry about their lack of pay during the first federal government shutdown in 17 years, Congress stepped in and passed a last-minute bill Sep. 30 that benefits those in uniform and their families, Government Executive reported. President Obama signed the measure just hours before the government officially closed.

The law allows active-duty troops and reserve members to receive on-time paychecks and allowances during the shutdown. According to the news source, the law affects about 1.4 million servicemembers. 

Civilian employees and contractors of the defense and homeland security departments who are providing support to servicemembers will also receive their paychecks on time at the discretion of the Secretary of Defense. The Department of Defense expects 50 percent of its civilian employees to be furloughed, while the Department of Homeland Security estimates about 15 percent of its civilian staff will be suspended, the news source reported. 

Sen. Ted Cruz, who tried to block the Senate from voting on the initial spending bill in a 21-hour-long speech last week, praised Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for passing the bill. 

"The men and women who risk their lives defending this nation should not have their paychecks delayed," Cruz said on the Senate floor.