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The Ripple Effect: Empty Halls, Lost Money, Discontent

All 12,200 Washington area employees of the Department of Agriculture stayed at the office, because Clinton already had signed the agency's appropriations bill. "It's not exactly business as usual around here," said Greg Smith, of the USDA Forest Service, at 14th Street and Independence Avenue SW. "It's a little quieter. We work with other agencies, such as the Department of the Interior,"which had closed up shop.

Some work must go on, no matter what.

That includes feeding Hsing-Hsing, the 24-year-old giant panda, and the other animals at the National Zoo, which was closed. Brenda Morgan, the panda's keeper, fits the nation's definition of essential.

"I just want him to be happy," Morgan said. "I cut the bottom off his carrots, and I cook the sweet potatoes. I do anything I can do to make him happy."

The following staff writers contributed to this report: Charles Babington

Stephen Barr, D'Vera Cohn, Albert B. Crenshaw, Anthony Faiola, Stephen P. Fehr,

Amy Goldstein, Bradley Graham, Charles W. Hall, Marianne Kyriakos, Toni Locy,

Vernon Loeb, Cindy Loose, Leef Smith, Jackie Spinner, Saundra Torry and Linda


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