So as the partial government shutdown stretched into its sixth day with no end in sight, James, a minimum-wage contractor sidelined from his job as an office worker at the Interior Department, was anxious.
David Dollard, a Federal Bureau of Prisons employee and chief steward for the American Federation of Government Employees Local 709 union in Colorado, said at least two agency employees lost their homes after the 2013 shutdown suspended their salaries.
He declined to comment on whether he might back away from the $5 billion wall funding demand.
"You have to have a wall, you have to have protection", he said.
Congress and President Donald Trump are basically giving up on reaching a deal to end the government's partial shutdown for 2018, throwing in the towel until the New Year and a new Congress. Trump implied the California Democrat was stonewalling wall funding to shore up support for her speaker bid, saying, "Probably if they do something, she's not going to get the votes".
"If [Trump's] the one that's compromising and the Democrats are demanding absolute surrender, then it's gonna backfire on them because that's not what the American people want", Thiessen told Fox News.
In a Christmas eve statement, the Democratic leaders jointly released a statement accusing Trump of "plunging the country into chaos". "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".
Reds acquire Puig, Kemp, Wood in deal with Dodgers
Wood gives the Reds another upgrade to their young rotation, which has been their biggest weakness the last two seasons. Harper joining the Dodgers on the mega-deal that he reportedly seeks should not be viewed as a foregone conclusion.
Nine of 15 federal departments, including State, Homeland Security, Transportation, Agriculture and Justice began partially shutting down after funding for them lapsed at midnight (05:00 GMT) last Saturday.
According to the Associated Press, around 420,000 people are working without pay, while another 380,000 have been put on furlough.
"Whatever it takes. We need a wall".
Democrats are most likely going to blink first and give into the president's demands, not because they are soft but because you can't negotiate with a kidnapper who doesn't care if all of his hostages die.
During a televised December 11 meeting with Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, Trump had said he would be "proud to shut down the government for border security" but has since shifted the blame to Democrats.
But Democrats largely oppose Trump's proposed wall, which he had initially said would financed by Mexico.
Trump says US$5 billion is needed to extend and improve border barriers along the Mexico frontier.
It remains to be seen, however, how Senate Republicans will react to a House bill that lacks wall funding.
Christmas has come and gone but the partial government shutdown is just getting started.
Kevin Hassett, the chairman of the White House's Council of Economic Advisers, said the shutdown does not change the administration's expectation for strong growth heading into 2019.