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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Poor Mothers and Their Children Are Among First to See Benefits Cut from Gov Shutdown

Posted by on Tue, Oct 1, 2013 at 10:31 AM reminds us that, along with "nonessential government employees," i.e. most federal employees, it's poor mothers and their children that will be feeling the immediate effects of today's government shutdown:

Unlike Social Security checks and many other safety net programs that can continue to operate under a shutdown, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) will cease issuing payments, leaving state governments scrounging for leftover funds from other programs that could be used to pay WIC benefits. Nearly 9 million at-risk mothers, infants, and children stand to lose their government-provided food money should the government shut down, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced Saturday.

Some states might be able “to continue operations for a week or so,” but “no additional federal funds would be available” to the program, according to the USDA memo on shutdown contingency planning. “States can probably shelter families receiving WIC from the effects of a shutdown for a short period, but it could be a real problem if it lasts more than a few days,” one analyst told the Huffington Post.

Here in Washington, WIC reaches over 195,000 women, infants, and children in 205 clinics across the state each month. That's one third of pregnant women in our state, almost half of all babies born, and one quarter of children under five who receive nutrition-rich foods and other vital help from WIC. We're talking baby food. Breast feeding assistance. Fruits and vegetables and milk and protein vouchers. Help with medical and dental care.

Fortunately, Washington's funding hasn't run completely out—health department spokesman Tim Church tells me their office has enough funds to continue serving its client base for about another week.

"Basically, we did not spend all of our money from the federal grant that ended yesterday," Church says. "Right now, we are still providing services but that will only last until October 9. We're certainly hopeful that this is settled before then because if not, we won't be able to continue serving those on WIC... to help moms give birth to healthy babies and help those healthy babies grow into healthy toddlers."

On a related note, please enjoy this awkward exchange, courtesy of CNN host Ashleigh Banfield, who confronted two Republican representatives—Reps. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA)—to see whether they would be willing to furlough their paychecks in solidarity with most other federal employees:


Comments (15) RSS

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MacCrocodile 1
Goddamn lazy babies. GET A JOB, BABIES
Posted by MacCrocodile on October 1, 2013 at 10:38 AM · Report this
Ah, but if they couldn't afford to feed their offspring, they shouldn't have squirted one out in the first place. And said infant should have had the common sense to be born into a more fiscally responsible family.
Posted by NateMan on October 1, 2013 at 10:38 AM · Report this
See? @3 knows what I'm talkin about.
Posted by NateMan on October 1, 2013 at 10:47 AM · Report this
blip 5
I assume punishing people for being poor is part of the plan. Even better if it's a slutty, America-destroying single mother.
Posted by blip on October 1, 2013 at 10:58 AM · Report this
Clara T 6
What a sack of undersized pricks the Cruz contingent are ....
Posted by Clara T on October 1, 2013 at 11:01 AM · Report this
Additionally, I think it's really, really important for people to remember that it isn't just "nonessential federal employees" who are hurting from this. In particular, those ESSENTIAL employees who are paid from appropriations are still required to work and aren't getting any money for it. They should get paid when this is all over with, but how long can families go without any income at all?

I've got friends who have just found themselves in what nearly amounts to indentured servitude. Are you deemed essential while working for the VA, Social Security, etc? Yeah, keep coming to work, keep paying for gas, keep sliding into debt, but you ain't getting paid until the GOP stops holding you and the country hostage.
Posted by Zuulabelle on October 1, 2013 at 11:10 AM · Report this
Thank you for hanging a lantern on this. My Catholic mother accepted the doctrine of no contraceptive, and WIC was a life saver for the kids in my family. The GOP is against funding for contraception, and also against feeding the resulting children. It is mindless hatred and hypocrisy.
Posted by wxPDX on October 1, 2013 at 11:17 AM · Report this
And FYI, WIC is not just for single moms. My dad worked two jobs and was married to my mom. We still relied on WIC to provide nutritious food.
Posted by wxPDX on October 1, 2013 at 11:19 AM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 11
Republicans enjoy grinding the poor under their heels.
Posted by Pope Peabrain on October 1, 2013 at 11:26 AM · Report this
Cascadian Bacon 12
But Obama still has money to fly the drones and sling missiles at innocents.

The NSA still has the money to spy on your phone calls and emails.

The CIA still has the money to arm Jihadist in Syria with anti aircraft Stinger missiles.
Posted by Cascadian Bacon on October 1, 2013 at 11:33 AM · Report this
Theodore Gorath 13
@12: Yes, thanks to the enormously bloated military/intelligence budget your GOP friends refuse to touch.

Republicans are not going to care about low income people not getting food. These people would line up and execute a kindergarten class personally if it would knock Obama out of office, or just make him seem ineffective.
Posted by Theodore Gorath on October 1, 2013 at 11:39 AM · Report this
Cato the Younger Younger 14
Sorry, but the question isn't congress getting paid. The real question is why these two idiots are willing to destroy the national and global economy over something that has been passed into law and declared constitutional by the SCOTUS.

It's a cute soundbite exchange but it's not journalism. It's Jerry Springer
Posted by Cato the Younger Younger on October 1, 2013 at 11:43 AM · Report this
Cascadian Bacon 15

You mean the military and domestic spy programs that Obama EXPANDED?

Neither party gives a fuck about the poor. Just like neither party has been open to negotiation, both are far more involved in their own reelection then the are at serving the will or benefits of their constituents.

Also for the record Obama has killed more than a kindergarten class full of children, Death from Above via drone strikes.
Posted by Cascadian Bacon on October 1, 2013 at 11:47 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 16
@ 15, what's the moral difference between that and all the people killed by manned flights and cruise missiles?

Getting worked up over drones distracts from the bigger issue of why we're conducting war in the first place.
Posted by Matt from Denver on October 1, 2013 at 12:00 PM · Report this
Theodore Gorath 17
@15: Why did you bring up Obama? I didn't. The issue is the poor allocation of resources, and the refusal of congressional republicans to compromise to help Americans.
Posted by Theodore Gorath on October 1, 2013 at 12:11 PM · Report this

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