With more than 800,000 federal employees either furloughed or working without pay due to the government shutdown, a former Marine and single dad has found himself making tough decisions as his wallet gets lighter and lighter. 

The government was officially shut down on December 22, 2018. 

The reason why? It all surrounds President Donald Trump's campaign promise to build a wall along the Mexico border. 

Trump wanted over $5 billion to start construction of the wall, but Democrats wouldn't budge.  Day 20 has almost passed, and there seems to be no compromise in sight right now. 

Desperate times and measures are at the doorsteps of thousands of families. That includes Dorelle Harrison's family. 

From 2000 to 2008, Harrison was in the Marine Corps and survived two deployments in Iraq. When he left, he took full custody of his two kids and got a degree from college. 

Harrison is now a geologist and works as a physical scientist for the Environmental Protection Agency. 

Dozens of EPA workers protested the shutdown in downtown Dallas at the EPA's office Thursday. 

The EPA was funded for five days beyond the government shutdown that started 20 days ago. 

On Friday, many of its employees will receive a check, but it will only be half of what they normally make. 

After this check, if the government doesn't reopen, no more will come. That's not what Harrison wants to hear. "You know you just sit here contemplating what your next move is," Harrison said.

The 36-year-old has been pinching pennies all month. He says he lives paycheck to paycheck, that one of his checks usually covers rent and that another covers utilities, food, and fun for his kids. 

He says he has some savings but doesn't want to dip into them. "I don't know what to do. I just pray about it, put a smile on my face and wish for the best," Harrison said. 

If there's no reopening before February 1, Harrison said he will likely not have enough money for rent. "It's money that I don't have right now," Harrison said. He adds that he's not financially trapped in a political game. 

"I don't think they're [lawmakers] thinking about the majority of America," he said. "I never imagined it would be 19 days." 

But Harrison knows the meaning of Semper Fi. He knows he has to stay loyal to his loved ones.  He told WFAA he'll find a solution if Washington doesn't.  "I got kids to take care of. I'm going to find a way. As a Marine, I'm going to find a way."