As US Government Shuts Down the Poorest Set to Lose Most

For the first time in 17 years the U.S. government began a partial shutdown of government programs Tuesday morning following a failure across the House and Senate to agree on a stop-gap budget proposal before its midnight deadline.

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As Wall Street looked shaky among uneasy implications for the economy, Imara Jones at Colorlines points out, “the parts of the government affected by the shutdown disproportionately impact economic opportunity programs for the working poor.”

“Historically marginalized communities are likely to the feel the effects of a shutdown acutely as time goes on,” Jones states.

According to Jones, those negative consequences include:

  • delays in application processes for essential programs such as Medicare and Medicaid
  • an impaired ability to fight disease as The Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health will be forced to scale back
  • closure of the Women Infants and Children Program (WIC)—a food aid program “which covers seven million children and infants, and their mothers”
  • cuts in funding for programs designed for children in need such as Head Start, educational services for low income students such as Title I education grants, and student loan and grant application programs
  • and much much more

As roughly one million government employees brace themselves for forced furloughs, it is not clear when Congress will squeeze through a budget bill that would end the shutdown.

And as Jones points out:

The next bill deadline set for the lawmakers is on October 17, when they must decide on whether or not to raise the country’s debt ceiling—another decision likely to put Washington in deadlock.