OGDEN, Utah (AP) — Payday will come Friday without any checks for about 800,000 federal employees affected by the government shutdown, forcing workers to scale back spending, cancel trips, apply for unemployment benefits and take out loans to stay afloat.
Roughly 420,000 federal employees were deemed essential and are working unpaid. An additional 380,000 are staying home without pay. While furloughed federal workers have been given back pay in previous shutdowns, it's not guaranteed that will happen this time. Government contractors, who have been placed indefinitely on unpaid leave, don't get compensated for lost hours.
Most of the government workers received their last paycheck two weeks ago, and Friday will be the first payday with no money.
At a rally Thursday in Ogden, about 100 furloughed IRS employees gathered outside the federal building to call for an end to the shutdown, chanting, "We want to work, we want to work."
Taking the shutdown fight to the Mexican border, President Donald Trump edged closer Thursday to declaring a national emergency in an extraordinary end run around Congress to fund his long-promised border wall. Pressure was mounting to find an escape hatch from the three-week impasse that has closed parts of the government, cutting scattered services and leaving hundreds of thousands of workers without pay.
Trump, visiting McAllen, Texas, and the Rio Grande to highlight what he says is a crisis of drugs and crime, said that "if for any reason we don't get this going" -- an agreement with House Democrats who have refused to approve the $5.7 billion he demands for the wall — "I will declare a national emergency."
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IRS worker Christine Helquist joins a federal workers protest rally Thursday outside the Federal Building in Ogden, Utah.
President Donald Trump speaks at a roundtable on immigration and border security Thursday at U.S. Border Patrol McAllen Station, during a visit to the southern border, in McAllen, Texas.
Union members and other federal employees rally Thursday to call for an end to the partial government shutdown, at AFL-CIO Headquarters in Washington.
Supporters of President Donald Trump wait outside the McAllen International Airport for Trump's visit to the southern border Thursday in McAllen, Texas.
Union members and Internal Revenue Service workers rally Thursday outside an IRS Service Center to call for an end to the partial government shutdown in Covington, Ky.
President Donald Trump salutes as a U.S. customs and Border Protection helicopter passes as he tours the U.S. border with Mexico on Thursday at the Rio Grande in McAllen, Texas.
Federal employees are among those participating in a rally against the government shutdown held Thursday at Federal Plaza in Chicago.
Supporters of President Donald Trump gather outside the McAllen International Airport for Trump's visit Thursday in McAllen, Texas.
A man participates in a federal workers protest rally Thursday at the Federal Building in Ogden, Utah.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, answers questions from reporters Thursday, after she called for President Donald Trump to end the partial government shutdown with a short-term funding bill and then let lawmakers negotiate over border-security, on Capitol Hill in Washington.
Cheryl Monroe, right, a Food and Drug Administration employee, and Bertrice Sanders, a Social Security Administration employee, rally to call for an end to the partial government shutdown Thursday in Detroit.
President Donald Trump gestures after arriving Thursday at McAllen International Airport for a visit in McAllen, Texas.
Internal Revenue Service worker Diane Zelazny cries during a federal workers protest rally Thursday at the Federal Building in Ogden, Utah.
USDA employee Lona Powell, center, holds up her sign as she joins union members and other federal employees at a rally to call for an end to the partial government shutdown on Thursday at AFL-CIO Headquarters in Washington. Powell has been on furlough at the Department of Agriculture since Dec. 22.
People gather during a federal workers protest rally Thursday at the Federal Building in Ogden, Utah.
This photo shows the Steamtown National Historic Site closed Thursday in its third week due to the partial government shutdown in downtown Scranton, Pa.
Brian Garthwaite, an FDA compliance officer who is currently furloughed and president of the American Federation of Government Employees Local 3381, holds up signs Thursday during the rally to highlight the effect the federal shutdown is having on its members in Minneapolis.
Government workers rally against the partial government shutdown Thursday at Federal Plaza in Chicago.