The deal, after days of mounting pressure and political bickering, means a Saturday morning in Washington without the metal barriers blocking access to the country’s grand national monuments.
The developments Friday came at the end of yet another day of maddening uncertainty in Washington, as residents, workers and visitors braved rainy spring weather and wondered what Saturday would bring.
But as the day waned, hints emerged that a deal was close.
Crystal Thomas of Bowie, a financial analyst who works as a federal contractor for Computer Sciences Corp., heard about it while working out at Gold’s Gym in Bowie.
“I’ve definitely cheered up,” she said. “It means that there’s a good possibility I’ll get a paycheck.”
Thomas said she is still recovering financially from taking family leave last year.
She said she had been going over her finances in recent weeks figuring out how she’d deal with a cut in pay.
Danny Underwood, who works for the Department of Homeland Security, said he worried that he would have needed another job during the shutdown to manage his expenses.
“It brings relief,” Underwood said, adding he couldn’t afford to be out of work for more than two weeks.
Younger federal employees and contractors seemed jubilant.
In Arlington, a group of friends and neighbors spent the evening Friday watching news reports on the big-screen TV in Bryan Roettger’s apartment and planning what they might do on their furloughs.
But when news broke shortly before 11 p.m. that Republican and Democratic negotiators had shaken on the deal, a collective cheer went up.
“Everybody was excited,” said Roettger, 30, a data analyst at the Department of Veterans Affairs. “I’m happy. It looks like they’re going to get everything figured out.”
Delores Fields, a social worker with the Attorney General’s office, said the last few days have been stressful as she and co-workers shared their concerns about how they would pay their mortgages and other bills.
All the talk about who was essential and who wasn’t essential weighed on people’s minds, making it hard to focus on their work, she said.
As the weekend approached, she was angry.
“Who wants to start a nice, cherry blossom weekend wondering what do we do — do we go to work on Monday?” she said.
When news of the possibility of a breakthrough came, Fields said it wasn’t going to be to switch off her anger at the politicians who she felt toyed with her livelihood and well-being.
“I’ve still got a little bitter taste in my mouth.”
And David Byrd, a 22-year veteran of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, compared this week’s impasse to the drama of asking a girl to the high school prom who also gets asked by another guy.