Wall prototypes sit on the US-Mexico border

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Although both bodies of Congress returned to work on Thursday, the brief session signaled that little, if any, progress had been made toward settling a spending bill stalemate between Congress and the White House, which is demanding $5 billion to fund US President Donald Trump's vision of a border wall along the US' southern border with Mexico.

As Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) indicated Sunday, Democrats are willing to compromise on general border security funding, but are adamantly against giving Trump the $5 billion he demands for the wall.

Trump also insisted Tuesday that the wall - through renovations and new contracts - is actually already scheduled to be built and refurbished.

A deal to fund shuttered government departments still seemed out of reach Wednesday, the fifth day of the partial shutdown.

The shutdown that began on Saturday affects one quarter of United States government agencies and approximately 800,000 federal workers. Democrats and some Republicans have rejected Trump's demand for the US-Mexico border, following which on last week he refused to sign a wider spending bill, temporarily stripping funding from swaths of the government. "Deliver them from the mire of division and despair as you lead them to your desired destination".

This shutdown is the third this year, and this one brings in its wake Trump attacks on the Federal Reserve, a plunging stock market, troop withdrawals from Syria and general upheaval inside the president's administration. The Senate was set to convene later Thursday, but no votes werescheduled.

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Their statement came as Trump unleashed a string of Christmas Eve tweets blasting Democrats for not making a counteroffer after Pence made his offer over the weekend. "Because of this, my income has been severely cut and I am unable to pay the entire cost of my mortgage, along with my other expenses". It also suggests the possibility of doing building chores in exchange for reduced payments.

Trump didn't say how he's hearing from federal workers, excluding those he appointed to their jobs or who work with him in the White House. Mark Warner of Virginia, who tweeted: "Federal employees don't go to work wearing red or blue jerseys. They're public servants. And the President is treating them like poker chips at one of his failed casinos".

"I imagine that [President Trump] learned and saw things that he hadn't seen before, which is good for him as Commander-in-Chief", says Banks. The American public has always been inclined to blame presidents for any governmental dysfunction that transpires on their watch (this insight was the cornerstone of Mitch McConnell's rationale for adopting a posture of unwavering obstruction during the Obama presidency).

"These federal workers want the wall", Trump said. Of the federal employees surveyed, 1,954 were members of a union while 6,607 were not. When government workers are on furlough or aren't sure when their next paycheck will be, they are less likely to spend money.

And he did not offer specifics when asked who was rewarded the government contract.

That would be a devastating blow and dump a tsunami of gloom on the holiday season, particularly for those government workers who have to show up to work without being paid. A December 18 Quinnipiac University poll found 43 percent of voters supported "building a wall along the border with Mexico", while 54 percent opposed it - and that may overstate support for the president's position.