Federal employees back to work after shutdown

Posted at: 10/17/2013 10:36 AM
By: Danielle Leigh, NBC News

(NBC News) -- The government re-opened today and federal employees are back to work after a 16-day shutdown.

Lawmakers just barely made a midnight deadline to raise the country's borrowing limit and now there's little time for rest.

Lawmakers have already beginning a new round of budget talks.

It was a celebration as Vice President Joe Biden thanked E.P.A. employees returning to work after spending the past 16 days at home without pay.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack made an extra effort his employees are happy to be back but also frustrated.

"This isn't a game these are real peoples' lives," said Jamilah Cassagnol who returned to work at the Department of Agriculture.

As some returned to work, tours resumed at the Capitol and park rangers removed barricades from national memorials just in time for a group of students visiting from Minnesota.

"We're thrilled that it worked out," said Claire Anderson.

Relief could be short lived, the deal funds the government for just three more months and extends the country's ability to borrow money to pay its bills for less than four.

President Obama expressed his hopes for the days ahead.

"All of us need to stop focusing on the lobbyists and focus on what Americans sent us here to do and that is grow this economy," the President said.

Already the house and senate budget chairs met about a long term fix.

"We believe there is common ground, said democratic Congresswoman Patty Murray of Washington State.

"We are going back to regular order, said republican Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.

The shutdown cost the country an estimated 24 billion dollars.

Lawmakers have a mid-December deadline to report back on a more permanent budget.