Leaders in Washington continue negotiations to end a partial government shutdown, and they're getting their own messages out about how we got here. As NPR's Ron Elving writes, each party is accusing the other of being out of touch with Americans — and they're both probably right.
So we asked you what you want them to know.
Many federal workers wrote in and expressed dismay at Congress for holding the country — and people's paychecks "hostage" and for using them, especially the military, as "bargaining chips."
Some messages could have come straight out of a kindergarten class: "Stop pointing fingers," "please play nicely," "stop acting like pouty children," and "I don't care who started it."
Others, anxious about their own paychecks, proposed that Congress' pay be cut until they work out a compromise.
And some sympathized with Congress and believes leaders should hold firm on their convictions — especially on illegal immigration.
Here are some of the messages NPR's readers have for Washington:
Mika Cross of Maryland:
"Federal workers are the most dedicated people I know- we care immensely about our jobs, our mission and the impact the shutdown has on our ability to do what we're funded for. As a veteran myself working for an organization that serves veterans and their families, I'm appalled that [leaders are] unable to meet in the middle and agree to fund the gov. I also feel strongly that if their pay and benefits were affected they'd have motivation to do so more effectively."
Michaela Reilly, Berkeley, Calif.:
"Y'all need to get it together and stop playing the blame game. Get to work and acknowledge one another's humanity instead of using your self righteous motivations as reason for disempowering the federal governing powers of this country."
Kait Hess, Philadelphia:
"Unfortunately it came to a shutdown but I think the Dems made the right call by not supporting the GOP's stopgap funding bill. DACA is a moral obligation."
Paul E. Kiefer, Jr., Austin, Texas:
"Don't use your employees as political pawns. Keep us going so that we can do the work that is necessary to run the government."
Jeremy Bol, Chesapeake, Va.
"Every moment you refuse to budge you cost America money. Every moment you waste the dislike for the government at large, Democrat, Republican or independent, grows. This should be a simple fix. Be adults and stop pointing fingers. You're all responsible.
Andrew Fritz, Rhode Island:
"I am a proud Democrat. I stand by their mission to ensure protected status for Dreamers. Even if it means loss of pay for me. I believe all lives are equal and no matter what labels (illegals, etc.) people should be helped by those that find themselves in a position of power."
Sue Esselman, Annapolis, Md.
"Yes, hold your ground. DO NOT give in and let more illegals stay in our country. Compromise, but not to the point that you give in completely. Get us out of this CR and pass a budget!"
Philip Traquair, Phoenix:
"Stop acting like pouty children and do your job or go home — both Democrat and Republican."