READING, Pa. - From buying a home to visiting a national park or reaching the IRS, people are already feeling the effects of the federal government shutdown.
Edie Shean-Hammond didn't become a park ranger to turn visitors away, but that's exactly what she had to do when two tourists came all the way from Europe to see the Hopewell Furnace Historic Site in Berks County.
"We are closed to due to the government shutdown," she said. "It is very sad."
Michael Baer, from Germany, barely got in a visit to the Washington, D.C., museums before the shutdown.
"Bad timing for us," he said. "We're here for three weeks, and now everything is shutting down."
A skeleton crew showed up at Defense Contract Management Agency in Reading, but only to shut things down. All local IRS branches are also now closed. HUD, Housing and Urban Development, offices are all shut down, as well.
Social Security office remain open, but can only perform limited functions. Payments will go out, but you can't get a new social security card.
"They said they won't shut down, but there are only certain things that will be done," said LaVerne Styk, of Reading, who stopped into the SSA office on Tuesday.
The State Department will still process passports, but some stand-alone passport offices in federal office buildings are not open. Post offices can still accept applications.
Looking to buy a house? That could get delayed, too. Loan broker Keith Zielaskowski, with Primary Residential Mortgage, spent the day on the phone.
"We're calling our customers today and just letting them know just exactly what that means to them," he said.
If you're getting an FHA-backed loan, you're probably okay. The agency is still working -- with a limited staff -- and Zielaskowski said most applications don't need a federal worker anyway. Most private mortgage brokers are authorized to underwrite their own FHA loans.
If you're getting a USDA loan though, it's a different story.
"That's going to sit and wait," said Zielaskowski. "For the most part, USDA is effectively shut down."
And brokers said almost every loan needs a tax transcript from the IRS, and, well, you get the picture.
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