On the seventh day of the, President Trump on Friday threatened to shut down the U.S.-Mexico border if Democrats refuse his monetary demands to build his long-promised wall. Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said he expected the shutdown to go on for a while, but revealed the president has come down from his initial demand of $5 billion to build the wall.
"We sat down with (Chuck) Schumer and gave him a number below five. I am not going to tell you what it is," Mulvaney said.
Mr. Trump canceled his plans to travel for the holiday and is doubling down on using whatever means necessary to get funding for a wall, tweeting, "We will be forced to close the Southern Border entirely if the Obstructionist Democrats do not give us the money to finish the Wall & also change the ridiculous immigration laws that our Country is saddled with."
It is estimated that shutting down the border could cost the economy up to $1 billion a day.
Maryland Democrat Steny Hoyer, soon-to-be House Majority Leader, slammed the White House approach.
"This is a strategy of theirs that is a stupid strategy, a harmful strategy, a strategy that undermines the confidence of the markets, undermines the confidence and moral of federal employees, and undermines the confidence, frankly, of the international community," Hoyer said.
While Washington remains deadlocked, 380,000 workers have been told to stay home without pay, and 420,000 others, including Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screeners, members of the Coast Guard and Border Patrol officers, must work without pay.
John Martyn was furloughed from his New Hampshire job as an engineering technician for the Federal Aviation Administration. "As a federal worker you feel sometime like you're hostage to this," Martyn said.
Furloughed workers are expected to get one more paycheck. But his wife Amy is already thinking about what happens when the checks stop coming in.
"So, we have bills that get taken right out from that paycheck and how are we going to pay them?" she said.
The Smithsonian museums — among the most visited in the world — have remained open during the shutdown but will need to close if no deal can be reached by Wednesday.