By Tara Law
January 6, 2019

President Donald Trump said he “can relate” to federal workers who cannot pay their bills because of the partial government shutdown.

Trump was asked by a reporter on Sunday if he could understand what federal workers who cannot pay their bills are going through. The shutdown has led to about 800,000 workers being furloughed or expected to work without pay.

“I can relate, and I’m sure that the people that are on the receiving end will make adjustments, they always do, and they’ll make adjustments,” Trump said. “People understand exactly what’s going on. But many of those people that won’t be receiving a paycheck, many of those people agree 100 percent with what I’m doing.”

On Friday, the President said that he was willing to allow the shutdown to last “months or even years” if funding is not allotted for a border wall.

Although Sunday marks 16 days since the government shutdown, Congress does not appear to be close to reaching an agreement on the budget. President Trump tweeted yesterday that there had been “not much headway” in negotiations.

Experts say that the federal government has already cost the country billions of dollars.

Write to Tara Law at tara.law@time.com.

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