SHUTDOWN DAY 35: Federal workers miss 2nd paycheck in a row, as Democrats reject Trump’s hint of compromise on wall funding

Furloughed federal workers and those aligned with them protesting the partial government shutdown in the Hart Senate Office Building on Wednesday in Washington, DC. Win McNamee/Getty Images
  • With the continuation of the record partial US government shutdown, 800,000 federal workers were due to miss their second paycheck on Friday.
  • Competing bills to reopen the government failed in the Senate on Thursday, leading President Donald Trump to suggest he would accept a “prorated down payment” for the US-Mexico border wall.
  • Trump did not define what he meant by that, leading House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to dismiss the idea.
  • Federal workers, some of whom are relying on food banks, are protesting and warning that Americans are being put in danger by the shutdown.

Federal workers were due to miss a second paycheck on Friday amid the record partial government shutdown.

The deadlock showed little sign of ending after Democrats on Thursday rejected a suggestion by President Donald Trump that he might relax his demand for $US5.7 billion to fund a border wall and accept a “down payment” instead.

About 800,000 federal workers are either off work or working without pay during the shutdown. An increasing number say they are relying on donations and food banks to make ends meet.

Many have warned they are risking the safety of Americans as they continue to work without getting paid.

President Donald Trump suggested on Thursday that he would be open to reopening the government in exchange for a “prorated down payment” for his proposed barrier on the US-Mexico border.

Trump did not define the term further or give a figure for a size of the down payment, but he did suggest that a “reasonable” instalment could be a way to solve the deadlock.

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The Senate didn’t pass either bill to end the government shutdown, but the Democrats’ bill got more votes than the Trump-backed bill with wall funding

But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected the idea. Speaking with reporters on Thursday, she said: “I don’t know if he knows what he’s talking about.”

Democrats have been saying since before the shutdown that they would not accept any spending deals that include funding for the wall.

Nancy Pelosi
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi discussing the shutdown on Thursday. Alex Wong/Getty Images

A bill proposed by Democrats to reopen the government did not pass the Senate in a vote Thursday.

It did not include any border-wall funding but instead proposed reopening the government for a few weeks so negotiations could continue without the stress of a shutdown.

Though it did not pass, the bill got more votes than a Trump-endorsed rival bill, which asked for border-wall funding in exchange for temporary protections for about 1 million immigrants.

Trump responded to Pelosi’s rejection of his suggestion on Twitter, where he said “We will not Cave!”

“Very simply, without a Wall it all doesn’t work,” he wrote.

The failure of the bills in the Senate has resulted in increased dialogue between the two parties.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called Sen. Chuck Schumer, the minority leader, to his office Thursday to explore next steps, the Associated Press reported.

“At least we’re talking about it,” McConnell told reporters after the votes. “That’s better than it was before.”

Federal workers protest and warn about safety

Numerous protests by federal workers have taken place since the shutdown began. On Wednesday, hundreds of furloughed workers staged a sit-in at the US Capitol and called for a meeting with McConnell. Twelve people were arrested.

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Wilbur Ross, Trump’s millionaire commerce secretary, says he doesn’t understand why federal workers are going to food banks during the government shutdown

Their signs displayed slogans like “Let me work” and “Do your jobs so Americans can do theirs.”

Government shutdown federal workers protest Capitol Hill
Federal employees with signs made of foam plates during a protest at the atrium of Senate Hart Office on Wednesday. Alex Wong/Getty Images

Some Transportation Security Administration workers have reportedly been turning to food banks and living in their cars during the shutdown.

The air traffic controllers’ union this week issued a dire warning over passenger safety. “We cannot even calculate the level of risk currently at play, nor predict the point at which the entire system will break,” union leaders said.

TSA worker government shutdown
A Transportation Safety Administration worker seen as passengers passed through security at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington, Virginia, on Thursday. NDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images

The head of the US Coast Guard said the shutdown meant “that Coast Guard men and women have to rely on food pantries and donations to get through day-to-day life as service members.”

Lapsed food benefits for millions, courts system on the brink, and the potential for recession: other effects of the shutdown

Read Business Insider’s full coverage of the shutdown here.