House Republicans won't back off a plan to ease the pain of the shutdown for veterans and children, but Democrats remain steadfast they want a full-funding bill to stop the pain entirely.
"This piecemeal approach...it doesn't work," says Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa. "It really is beyond the pale what they are doing."
This weekend, House Republicans will push for nearly a dozen piecemeal funding bills that would keep things like nutrition programs and Head Start funded.
As hundreds of furloughed government employees picketed outside the Capitol, the House of Representatives also announced a plan to pay furloughed workers their lost wages once the shutdown comes to an end.
Polls leading into the shutdown showed Democrats might have a slight edge on Republicans, but many pundits agree it is too soon to know who will take the blunt of the blame for shutting down the government.
House Speaker John Boehner lost his patience Friday when he was asked about the political ramifications of the shutdown.
"This isn't some damn game," Boehner said in response to a report that a White House aide had claimed in a Wall Street Journal article that Democrats were "winning" the shutdown.
"The American people don't want their government shut down and neither do I. All we're asking for is to sit down and have a discussion," Boehner said.
But such negotiations have failed to yield any compromises so far.
Boehner met with President Barack Obama Wednesday, but nothing substantive came out of the negotiations.
The White House has repeated at every turn it will not negotiate with Republicans on the government's funding bill, nor will it negotiate on a plan to increase the debt ceiling, which must be raised by Oct. 17.
"I was at the White House the other night and listened to the president, some 20 times explain to me why he wasn't going to negotiate. Sat there and listened to the majority leader in the United States Senate describe to me that he's not going to talk until we surrender," Boehner said.
Boehner made it clear Friday that Obama would not see a clean debt ceiling increase, however, unless he gave an inch.
Republicans are demanding something in return.
Boehner has told colleagues he wants a "grand bargain," some kind of debt ceiling increase that is tied to major reforms in the tax code and country's spending priorities.
"I don't believe we should default on our debt. It's not good for our country," Boehner said. "But after 55 years of spending more than what you bring in, something ought to be addressed."
If Congress does not find a solution to increase the debt ceiling by the deadline, the Treasury Department has already sounded the alarm that a default could send the country spinning into a recession that could rival the Great Depression.