Nightly News   |  October 17, 2013

Shutdown’s price tag: $24 billion

After more than two weeks, the government shutdown has finally ended and federal agencies, as well as national parks and monuments, are back up and running.  But while most government workers will get back pay eventually, millions of federal contractors will not. NBC’s Stephanie Gosk reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> the american shutdown ended today, leaving challengers to go home and face their constituents. the deal raises the debt limit until february 7 and the 16-day government shut down caused grave damage beyond the erosion of remaining faith and elected officials. beyond the damage of u.s. prestige, it hurt a lot of americans, some of whom can never recover what they lost. politically, it was a big loss and self-inflicted wound mostly for the republican party . we have the cost. our report from nbc's stephanie gosk.

>> reporter: barrett kathe barricades that triggered outrage at the world war ii memorial were removed today. combats no longer have to fight to get in.

>> it was an experience that every veteran should have.

>> reporter: after 16 days of being shut down, the federal government rumbled back to life. federal agencies , parks and monuments reopened around the country. the cdc in atlanta went back to work, fully tracking flu and other outbreaks. the shutdown went into effect midnight on october 1st . 16 days later, standard & poor 's roughly estimates the price tag at $24 billion, including $3.1 billion lost in government services. more than 2 billion lost in travel spending, and more than a billion at national parks alone. hardest hit, hundreds of thousands of furloughed federal workers.

>> we say fight back.

>> reporter: in chicago we first met epa employee elizabeth leidl as the shutdown began.

>> congress needs to be turned over somebody's knee and spanked real hard.

>> reporter: today she was relieved to be back on the job but still worries about making ends meet.

>> i'm living on about $150 to the end of the month, and that's not a whole lot of money.

>> reporter: while most government workers will get back pay eventually, millions of federal contractors will not. david walden works for the navy.

>> i don't have the vocabulary to discuss my anger about it. i'm actually very, very livid that you have representatives in washington that just can't get things done.

>> reporter: but no price can be put on what the mccartneys went through.

>> we won't rest until we get her on the treatment she needs and desperately deserves.

>> reporter: their desperately ill daughter was forced to wait for an nih funded clinical trial, including about 30 children. most of those patients are now waiting for a phone call . and then there are intangible costs like the country's reputation with foreign investors .

>> america's political system has been exposed to the world once more as both dysfunctional.

>> reporter: the founding fathers signed the constitution in philadelphia predicting that the government would hit some stumbling blocks down the road, but it's unlikely they ever thought it would turn into this. brian?

>> stephanie goss starting us off from philadelphia tonight. stephanie , thanks.