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The Department of Justice on Tuesday requested a stay of proceedings in its legal fight with US Airways Group Inc and American Airlines parent AMR Corp over the carriers’ proposed merger, citing the federal government shutdown.

“Absent an appropriation, the Department of Justice attorneys and employees are generally prohibited from working, even on a voluntary basis,” the Justice Department said in a motion.

“This is creating difficulties for the Department to perform the functions necessary to support its litigation efforts.”

(Reporting by Ros Krasny and Diane Bartz; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick)

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Photo Credit: U.S. Airways jets are seen at Reagan National Airport in Washington July 12, 2013. Larry Downing / Reuters