Science was put on hold, normally bustling stores went quiet and families depending on government aid feared losing their baby food as a government shutdown rippled across the country.
The budget impasse in Washington shut all but essential US government services for the second straight day on Wednesday, while neither political party appeared willing to budge.
Republicans want to tie continued government funding to measures that would undercut Obama's signature healthcare law, while Obama and his Democrats say that is a non-starter.
Here are some snapshops of people affected across the United States.
SEARCH FOR MISSING HIKER DEFIES SHUTDOWN
Some work was just too important to halt for Ted Stout, 50, even though he was furloughed Tuesday as park chief of interpretation and education at Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve in central Idaho. Wednesday marked his eighth day of searching for a missing hiker.
Stout said he and several other laid-off workers would keep combing the vast lava fields for 63-year-old Jo Elliot-Blakeslee on their own time, without pay and despite worsening weather.
"It's pretty much consuming our lives. We can't let her down now. This needs to continue," said Stout, who has worked for 10 years at a National Park Service site that spans 750,000 acres (300,000 hectares) of volcanic rifts, cinder cones and underground tunnels carved by ancient lava flows.
At its height, the hunt for Elliot-Blakeslee and a companion found dead last week from exposure drew helicopters and up to 100 searchers but those efforts have been scaled back partly because of the government shutdown, Stout said.
"We're just in a real unusual situation," Stout said. "All we can do is keep looking."