National park properties closed (yes, even the Washington Monument), passport and federal mortgage insurance processing were disrupted and toxic waste cleanup stalled as hundreds of thousands of federal workers went idle, paid retroactively later. But states, communities and private groups stepped up to tide over the neediest, keeping Meals on Wheels rolling with their own resources, for example, until Clinton found emergency money to cover the costs. Warnings that Medicare treatment would be withheld proved unfounded, and veterans got their care.
Contractors, who perform many key services for government, kept working for IOUs. A claim by the government that deportations "have virtually ended" was not so.
The Justice Department told the story of a Florida gas station rejecting the government-issued credit card of a drug-enforcement agent to illustrate the indignity of it all.
But the reality was humdrum: The card had merely expired.___ Associated Press writers Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, Mary Clare Jalonick, Joan Lowy and Philip Elliott contributed to this report.