The partial shutdown of the federal government dragged into its 17th day on Monday with no end in sight. It is the third-longest government shutdown in U.S. history.
President Donald Trump continues to insist any deal to end the shutdown must include money to construct a barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border, while House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said they would not allocate any money for a wall.
President Trump said he wants $5.6 billion for the wall but would accept a “steel barrier” rather than the previously promised concrete. “I think we’re probably talking about steel because I really feel the other side feels better about it,” he told reporters Friday.
The Office of Management and Budget, in a letter sent to Capitol Hill, said the funds Trump was requesting would cover about 234 miles of the nearly 2,000-mile border.
The partial shutdown directly impacts some 800,000 federal workers, 420,000 of whom are considered essential and are working without pay. Another 380,000 have been furloughed.
“These workers are vulnerable,” Paul Light, a professor of public service at New York University, told CNBC. “If there’s no work on Monday, they don’t go in and they don’t get paid.”
Democrats, newly in control of the House of Representatives, passed a bill to reopen the government, but the president said he will not sign without additional funding for the wall.
The President of the National Treasury Employees Union, Tony Reardon, said he has heard from hundreds of employees who are scared of the financial implications. “They don’t know how they’re going to put food on the table,” he said.
The president said he was willing to continue the shutdown for months or years.