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Partial federal government shutdown has states, cities starting to scramble

Wednesday, Jan 9, 2019

* Stateline

President Donald Trump’s warning that the partial federal government shutdown could last “for months or even years” has states, cities and businesses increasingly nervous.

States depend on federal money to pay for food stamps, welfare and programs such as the Child Care and Development Fund Plan, the National Flood Insurance Program and the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which provides matching grants for state and local parks and recreation projects.

Marcia Howard, the executive director of the nonprofit Federal Funds Information for States, said states have enough leftover federal dollars, plus money of their own, to keep key programs going for several weeks — but any period longer than that would create significant problems. The longest previous shutdown was for 21 days, in 1995-1996. […]

In Michigan, for example, $22 billion of the $57 billion state budget comes from the federal government. A spokesman for the Michigan State Budget Office, Kurt Weiss, said the state wouldn’t face significant challenges until 45 days have elapsed. But the day that marks the end of that period, Feb. 5, is fast approaching. […]

Weiss’ office recently asked the heads of state agencies to assess how long they can remain open without federal dollars and which of their programs are most essential. Their responses are due Friday. […]

Federal funding for Medicaid, the joint federal-state health care program for low-income people, is not immediately in jeopardy because Congress already has approved the federal share of those payments through September. […]

As a result of the shutdown, 420,000 federal employees are working without pay and 380,000 have been furloughed, according to a Democratic report from the Senate Appropriations Committee. […]

Because the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is closed, officials there won’t process Section 8 and veterans housing vouchers, or answer cities’ questions on grants, Benjamin said. Cities may soon have to work with landlords, food banks and within their own limited budgets to help residents get by in the meantime. […]

The National League of Cities program director for community and economic development, Michael Wallace, said rural residents who are using federal loans to purchase homes have not been able to close on their new properties because the Department of Agriculture is closed, creating unexpected hardship.

If the shutdown extends into February, he said, cities are going to have to transfer money from other programs and services to make sure their residents are fed and sheltered.

I’m told the shutdown’s impact has been a focus of the Pritzker transition team while working with the Rauner administration.

And thank goodness Medicaid is funded or there would be far more serious state issues. Those vendors endured way too many payment delays during our own state impasse.

* Speaking of the impasse, here’s Scott Reeder

Am I the only Illinoisan who is experiencing déjà vu, when it comes to the latest antics in Washington?

It seems a petulant chief executive is at loggerheads with a Speaker of the House and is allowing a portion of the government to go unfunded unless he gets what he wants.

It could be Gov. Bruce Rauner circa 2015 or President Donald Trump in 2019.

The parallels are frightening.

Both Rauner and Trump are wealthy men accustomed to getting what they want. It is also worth noting that neither held any other public office before being elected to head an executive branch.

Rauner entered office with a 44-point program to reform Illinois.

He precipitated a crisis by using his veto pen and legislative allies to keep Illinois from having a budget for 736 days. He’d hoped to harness the discontent caused by the emergency to shove his key reforms through the House.

Sound familiar?

* From USA Today

The agencies affected by the shutdown include Agriculture, Commerce, Justice, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, State, Transportation and Treasury.

A longer list with explanations of what’s happening at each agency is here.

* Local impact

The City of Evanston may have to dip deeper into its general assistance funds next month if agreement isn’t reached to end the partial shutdown of the federal government.

The city’s human services manager, Indira Perkins, told the city’s Human Services Committee Monday night that money for the federal government’s food stamp, or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, is expected to run out in February if the shutdown continues.

She said that in addition to trying to boost cash benefits to general assistance recipients the city will also try to make more use of local food pantries to serve the clients.

(Late Tuesday the Trump administration said it would fund food stamps for February, but had no solution to fund the program for March, if the shutdown continues.)

She said the WIC program, which provides supplemental food to Women, Infants and Children, is also expected to run out of funds next month.

* Brenden Moore at the SJ-R

The National Park Service is considering an offer from the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum to operate the Lincoln Home National Historic Site for the remaining duration of the partial federal government shutdown.

The historic site, which sees more than 200,000 visitors annually, has been closed for more than two weeks as President Donald Trump and congressional Democrats spar over the president’s insistence on including funding for a southern border wall in an appropriation bill that would reopen government.

Under the tentative plan offered last week by ALPLM officials, the museum’s management would oversee a team of volunteers that would offer tours of Lincoln’s home and pay for security guards and janitors on the site. The site’s visitor’s center would likely remain closed. The National Park Service is considering the plan, spokeswoman Alex Picavet said Tuesday.

* Sun-Times

So far, Chicago’s airports haven’t experienced the long lines that travelers reported at LaGuardia last weekend. TSA has acknowledged more screeners are calling in sick, but they say the effect has been “minimal.”

* According to Governing Magazine, 9,703 federal government jobs in Illinois are in agencies currently without enacted appropriations. Another 31,152 work for agencies with enacted appropriations.

Peoria Journal Star

In a study conducted by Wallethub, a personal finance website, Illinois was the 11th least affected by the government shutdown given its smaller share of federal jobs and relatively few number of national parks and monuments. […]

Citing estimates from the Center for American Progress, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin’s office said more than 8,300 federal workers in Illinois are being furloughed or forced to work without pay during the shutdown.

Durbin’s office said other problems created by the shutdown include the freezing of loans and grants from the Small Business Administration, Federal Housing Administration and Community Development Board; public housing agencies facing delayed payments, delaying maintenance and emergency repairs; and the closure of USDA farm service agency offices.

And, the longer the shutdown persists, the more that services could be affected and harm could be done, especially in fiscally-challenged states left picking up the tab for social services once covered by the federal government.

This is a federal topic with state implications. As always, do your very best to avoid copy-and-paste DC talking points in comments, please. If you saw some talking head yakking about something on your favorite cable teevee station, don’t repeat it here.

* Related…

* Government shutdown affects southern Illinois: Another area affected by the shutdown is HUD. The agency let 1,150 contracts expire with private landlords who rented to people receiving Section 8 housing voucher, and even though a HUD spokesman says those landlords will be paid eventually, housing advocates like Adrianne Todman, CEO of the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials, worry it could lead to evictions. “We have to rely on the goodwill of owners to sort of ride this wave with us,” Todman said.

* TSA Workers Fear They Will Not Get Paid Friday

* Federal shutdown hurting southern Illinois farmers

* Shutdown stalls Trump farm bailout created in response to trade war

* UI mostly unaffected by government shutdown — for now

* US Chamber calls for end to shutdown as businesses struggle

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Generic Drone - Wednesday, Jan 9, 19 @ 12:28 pm:

    Once again we see government employees used as pawns in a political fight. I guess we made the mistake of not being farmers

  2. - Grandson of Man - Wednesday, Jan 9, 19 @ 12:29 pm:

    Yes, Mr. Reeder, it is so familiar.

  3. - My New Handle - Wednesday, Jan 9, 19 @ 12:30 pm:

    Serious question: what is a “DC talking point”? I have read that term here before but really don’t know its meaning. Thanks in advance for help with this.

  4. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jan 9, 19 @ 12:37 pm:

    O’Hare promises to be fun.

  5. - Deadbeat Conservative - Wednesday, Jan 9, 19 @ 12:55 pm:

    The shutdown is clear win at this point over democrats. The GOP Trump base is getting at least three of its outcomes: 1) Damage to public lands, 2) Harm to workers, and 3) Setbacks to science and research.

  6. - Angry Republican - Wednesday, Jan 9, 19 @ 1:06 pm:

    The Federal shutdown means no new beer labels, which means no new beers. Brewers may be stuck with a lot of beer they can’t sell. All because beer labels must be approved by the Feds.

  7. - Honeybear - Wednesday, Jan 9, 19 @ 1:08 pm:

    The effect of having SNAP, aka food stamps, go down if they drag into February is catastrophic. We, in our privilege, may not think 192 a month is a lot for one person.
    But I’m here to tell you
    It means eating for a kid.
    You hear me
    Kids and the elderly are the ones most vulnerable.
    Over 90% of the kids in the East St. Louis school district get free or reduced price lunch
    in a lot of cases the only meal their gonna get
    You get what’s at stake?
    I once had an elderly woman in my office because something had gotten screwed up on our end. It caused a two day delay in her stamps. Just two days. I will never forget her panicked, thinking outloud, calculations of what she could possibly eat to make it through. I remember he saying she only had so many pieces of bread left, but could switch to crackers, I felt like such crap that day. Because my office screwed up, she was calculating the move to crackers. Loving Savior folks.
    That was just two days.
    The vulnerable are way more vulnerable
    than our privileged consciences will admit.
    And remember
    Let us not forget
    Rauner destroyed the private food pantries and social service agencies that had large state contracts.
    They are gone.
    We’re only good in the Metro East because our
    United Way is based in St. Louis.
    We only lost a few homeless shelters.
    But in the rest of the state….
    Again, holding hostages
    Letting hostages die in captivity
    Malum in se
    evil itself.

    All my love to my sisters and brothers of AFGE
    I pray this gets resolved

  8. - Fixer - Wednesday, Jan 9, 19 @ 1:09 pm:

    One important difference between the Illinois budget impasse and the federal impasse is that the disagreement at the federal level is budgetary, while in Illinois is was not.

    Not that it makes it any better.

  9. - Honeybear - Wednesday, Jan 9, 19 @ 1:13 pm:

    Fixer, I’m not quite sure I follow you. Can you elaborate?

  10. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Jan 9, 19 @ 1:20 pm:

    The similarities between Rauner and Trump have been evident for a long time; constant lying, incompetence, confusion as to what the gig really is.

    Rauner was Trump before Trump was.

  11. - Fixer - Wednesday, Jan 9, 19 @ 1:22 pm:

    The federal impasse revolves around funding levels for immigration enforcement. The wall being a part of that. The IL impasse was focused on things nonbudgetary items such as RtW zones and prevailing wage laws, which would have had no to minimal impact on the overall state budget.

    Sorry, should have expounded further on my initial comment.

  12. - Anon221 - Wednesday, Jan 9, 19 @ 3:08 pm:

    Fixer- A series of mini-buses for funding different agencies were passed and signed before the shutdown. A change from what Congress has done in the past for budgets.

    Unfortunately, the other agencies that did not get their mini-buses signed before the shutdown are now the ones in crisis. It’s not about budgets, it’s about “legos”- both the “bricks” and the blinking.

    McConnell needs to grow a spine and realize that Congress will need to override T’s vetoes of any spending bills if this shutdown continues to drag on much longer- especially through another pay period. Pass the mini-buses through except DHS, and then work on that agency and the egos involved.

    What’s going on in the federal level is what we experienced in Illinois, only on a much larger scale and different moving parts.

  13. - thechampaignlife - Wednesday, Jan 9, 19 @ 3:41 pm:

    ===9,703 federal government jobs in Illinois are in agencies currently without enacted appropriations. Another 31,152 work for agencies with enacted appropriations.===

    Today I learned that we have 40,000 federal workers in Illinois. That is pretty small as a percentage of our population, but it is honestly a lot larger than I would have guessed if asked out the the blue.

  14. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jan 9, 19 @ 3:55 pm:

    ===Serious question: what is a “DC talking point”?===

    It’s explained above: “If you saw some talking head yakking about something on your favorite cable teevee station, don’t repeat it here.”

  15. - Nick Name - Wednesday, Jan 9, 19 @ 4:27 pm:

    I just read that the FDA has suspended routine inspections of domestic food processing facilities, due to the shutdown.

    Cook everything thoroughly, I guess.

  16. - Southwest Sider - Wednesday, Jan 9, 19 @ 5:15 pm:

    This shutdown reminds me… of Illinois budget standoff. Which hurt citizens and businesses. My business will be affected by this shutdown in another 30 days. Hopefully will be resolved by then.

  17. - Anono - Thursday, Jan 10, 19 @ 5:41 am:

    Mr. Trump is using the same tactic Mr. Rauner tried here. The difference is the Federal Government has many more workers on its payroll and, if I’m not mistaken, a lower percentage of those Federal workers have their paychecks protected.

    The facts that farmers can’t apply for tariff mitigation grants or that the EPA has suspended all superfund hearings, etc. during the shutdown are features, not bugs, of Mr. Trump’s shutdown.

    Unlike Mr. Rauner, Mr. Trump has enjoyed 2 years of Republican majorities in the legislative body.

    Now that the Democrats have taken over, Mr. Trump has literally shut down the country rather than actually work with them.

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