Photo taken on Jan. 12, 2019 shows the statue of George Washington outside the Federal Hall National Memorial, a tourist attraction which is closed due to partial government shutdown, in New York, the United States, Jan. 12, 2019. (Xinhua/Wang Ying)
WASHINGTON, Jan. 23 (Xinhua) -- The White House is seeking to evaluate what programs would be highly impacted if the already month-long partial government shutdown continues for weeks longer, U.S. media reported Wednesday.
White House Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney has asked agency leaders to provide him with a list of the programs that will be severely undermined if the shutdown extends into March and April, The Washington Post first reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
The move signals that the White House is preparing for an even longer funding lapse, as the record-long shutdown, now in its 33rd day, still has no solution in sight. Mulvaney wants the list no later than Friday, the sources said.
The record-long shutdown has affected a quarter of the federal government, forcing about 420,000 "essential" employees to work without pay, and 380,000 others to take unpaid leave.
Federal workers gathered Wednesday at the Hart Senate Office Building to hold 33 minutes of silent protest, one minute for each day the shutdown has lasted. They also held paper signs with written messages such as "Open the government" and "Let us work."
The U.S. Senate will vote on two competing bills Thursday in an attempt to end the partial government shutdown, Republican and Democratic Senate leaders said Tuesday. The two bills, however, still face uncertainty in the Senate as each bill would need to garner 60 votes required to advance.
The two spending bills include one with 5.7 billion U.S. dollars to fund the U.S.-Mexico border wall demanded by President Donald Trump, and another that extends funding for closed agencies until Feb. 8.
The Republicans have long sided with the president and insisted that any legislation to reopen the government include the border wall money, while the Democrats have repeatedly demanded that Congress reopen the government first, and then the two sides could discuss border security funding.