"If the government shutdown continues to prevent action to accept applications for Medicare, Social Security and veterans' benefits made by seniors and veterans, this backlog would be so great that service to these citizens would not return to normal for months to come," Clinton said.
But even with workers returning to work, agencies predicted that transactions with the federal government would continue to function slowly for days or weeks.
Bracing for the worst, a protracted shutdown that could last 90 days or more, Republican lawmakers in Congress prepared to start funding the government piece by piece beginning with some of the most politically sensitive functions: Social Security, Veterans Affairs and the National Institutes of Health.
But they never got their chance.
After four days, a deal was struck between Clinton and congressional leaders, allowing the government to come back online, and Congress set about to the task of undoing the damage from a four-day shutdown.
Government employees were owed pay for work they never did, and those same employees faced piles of work that went undone for much of the week.
Weeks later, Congress and the White House careened down the path to a second shutdown, this time lasting for another 24 days.
In the end, according to an Office of Management and Budget estimate from 1996, the total bill for the loss of productivity and other costs associated with the shutdown was estimated to be $1.4 billion.