Government workers expressed dismay and spoke of hardships at a roundtable hosted by Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen, as they faced problems paying basic bills and worried about necessities on the 17th day of a government shutdown.
President Donald Trump announced on Monday he would make a prime-time address and visit the U.S.-Mexico border this week amid the partial federal government shutdown after a funding impasse over his demand for money to build a border wall.
The moves indicate the Republican president has no intention of backing off his pledge to build a wall that he believes will stem illegal immigration and drug trafficking. Democrats in Congress say a wall would be expensive, inefficient and immoral.
However, pressure to reach a deal is likely to grow as the effects of the shutdown are felt, including possible cuts in food stamp programs.
Vice President Mike Pence said White House lawyers were evaluating the possibility that Trump could declare a national emergency in order to secure alternate funding for the wall but that Trump had not made a decision on using that tactic. It was unclear what basis Trump could use to declare a national emergency.