The US government shut down became the longest in history at midnight – as the closure entered its 22nd day.
About 800,000 federal workers went without pay when their $0 pay cheques arrived on Friday, as neither side budges on the issue of the southern border wall.
President Donald Trump has refused to reopen government until Democrats agree to give him the £3.95billion ($5billion) he says he needs to build a wall along the south border between the US and Mexico.
He has threatened to call a national emergency in order to tap into federal funds to pay for the building of the wall, something he claims he has every right to do, but would prefer not to.
Trump said: “What we’re not looking to do right now is national emergency.”
He insisted that he had the authority to do that, adding that he’s “not going to do it so fast” because he’d still prefer to work a deal with Congress.
But the administration has accelerated planning for a possible emergency declaration to try to get around Congress and fund the wall from existing sources of federal revenue.
One idea being considered was diverting some of the $13.9 billion allocated to the Army Corps of Engineers after last year’s deadly hurricanes and floods.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom called it an “unconscionable” idea to look at using disaster assistance “to pay for an immoral wall that America doesn’t need or want.”
The House and Senate voted to give federal workers back pay whenever the federal government reopens before leaving Washington for the weekend.
Many federal workers shared images of their pay cheques on Twitter in protest of the shutdown
The White House fears could turn more voters against the president as he holds out for billions in new wall funding.
Eric Young, speaking on behalf of prison workers, said they had to “live paycheck to paycheck” earning $500 to $700 (£390 to £545) a month.
He added: “We are the people of this shutdown. End this shutdown. If something happens to any of our professionals behind this distraction, blood will be on your hands.
“Stop playing chicken with our lives.”
Some members of Congress have called for their own pay to be frozen in solidarity with federal workers.
Republican Dan Crenshaw wrote on Twitter: “I cannot in good conscience get paid while federal employees’ financial futures hang in the balance because of this partial government shutdown.”
The national president of the American Federation of Government Employees, J David Cox, said: “We don’t just oppose this because we aren’t getting paid, but that would be reason enough.