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Biden, US officials warn of hunger for millions in a government shutdown

Published Sep 25, 2023 02:34PM ET Updated Sep 25, 2023 06:46PM ET
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2/2 © Reuters. U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack speaks about a possible government shutdown during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., September 25, 2023. REUTERS/Leah Millis 2/2
 
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By Steve Holland

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -U.S. President Joe Biden and one of his top aides warned on Monday that a federal government shutdown could cause widespread suffering, including a rapid loss of food benefits for nearly 7 million low-income women and children.

Biden told a meeting on Historically Black Colleges and Universities that failure by Congress to fund the federal government would have dire consequences for the Black community, including by reducing nutritional benefits, inspections of hazardous waste sites and enforcement of fair housing laws.

He said he and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy had agreed a few months ago on spending levels for the government.

"We made a deal, we shook hands," he said. "Now a small group of extreme House Republicans .. don't want to live up to that deal, and everyone in America could be faced with paying the price for it."

Asked if he had spoken with McCarthy, Biden said, "I haven't." He shook his head when asked when they would speak.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told reporters earlier that the "vast majority" of the 7 million participants in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program would see an immediate reduction in benefits in the days and weeks after a shutdown starts.

Nearly half of U.S. newborns rely on WIC, the USDA says.

A separate benefits program, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), will continue as normal for the month of October but could be affected afterward, he said.

More than 40 million Americans relied on SNAP to make ends meet in 2022; inflation has put new pressure on household budgets, with prices higher since the COVID-19 pandemic for goods from bread to fresh vegetables and baby formula.

During a shutdown, farm service agencies will also stop making loans to farmers during harvest time, and new homebuyers will not be able to get loans in rural areas, Vilsack said. More than 50,000 Department of Agriculture workers will be furloughed, meaning they will not receive a paycheck.

The Republican-controlled House of Representatives may move to advance steep spending cuts this week that would almost certainly be rejected by the Democratic-controlled Senate. While the cuts would not become law, a failure by both chambers to agree could force a partial shutdown of the U.S. government by next Sunday.

House lawmakers on Tuesday were set to take up four spending bills for the coming fiscal year that would also impose new restrictions on abortion access, undo an $11 billion Biden administration climate initiative, and resume construction of the Mexico-U.S. border wall, a signature initiative of former President Donald Trump. Biden has vowed to veto at least two of the bills.

Vilsack called Republican fiscal plans "punitive" and "petty."

Biden, US officials warn of hunger for millions in a government shutdown
 

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Comments (18)
John Byrne
John Byrne Sep 28, 2023 3:31PM ET
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I can't believe only 50% of the new born babies in the USA need the Wic program. They need 100% on  them to control them and get their votes. What is being done about bringing those people up. That is a disgrace, soon we all will be asylum seekers to get away from Communism. Great job Joe and crone's!!! Divide and Concur, wake up people before its to late!!
Wayne Cammack
Wayne Cammack Sep 28, 2023 2:23PM ET
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Good job, Joe! You have really been beneficial to rhe problem.
Mike Meyer
Mike Meyer Sep 27, 2023 5:06PM ET
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Oh SNAP…someone might have to get a job.
gab nea
gab nea Sep 27, 2023 6:59AM ET
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the anti Christ Republicans couldn't care less about the hungry and the poor! they only care about the greedy rich! they act like Nazis: show me your papers!!!!
Gary Piccone
Gary Piccone Sep 26, 2023 5:17AM ET
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Oh no! The illegal migrants won't be able to eat? We can't have that! Atta boy Joe
Elezabeth Thomas
Elezabeth Thomas Sep 25, 2023 10:08PM ET
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Bidenomic Failure.
gab nea
gab nea Sep 25, 2023 10:08PM ET
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you blame the Republicans shutting down the government and starving Americans is a joke to you? shame on your anti Christ position!
Mark Grube
Mark Grube Sep 25, 2023 9:47PM ET
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fear mongering
Jim Davies
Jim Davies Sep 25, 2023 9:47PM ET
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same old tactics to keep the spending mill running to destroy the future of this country and perhaps the world.
Maximus Maximus
Maximus Maximus Sep 25, 2023 8:25PM ET
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an insane rightwing cult, worshipping their orange god, is ready to hold the country hostage once again..
Show previous replies (1)
Will Bowers
Will Bowers Sep 25, 2023 8:25PM ET
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Will Bowers dont care about politics, our country is 33 Trillion in debt. All we have now is our fellow American neighbors to work together for ourselves. No users, only freedom of choice, which seems to me getting choked out by the US government
Maximus Maximus
Maximus Maximus Sep 25, 2023 8:25PM ET
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will see my reply to you in your post below.. all the best
Maximus Maximus
Maximus Maximus Sep 25, 2023 8:25PM ET
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will.. I might add to that, that in addition to healthcare, you also need education for your kids, defence of the homeland from hostile powers, roads and waterways to be built, advanced research to be done to better our lives etc. that's a lot for you to do all by yourself...
Will Bowers
Will Bowers Sep 25, 2023 8:25PM ET
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Maximus Maximus dont want anything from anyone. Freedom is enough for me. My kids are grown. Will talk soon! Well wishes to you!
Jim Davies
Jim Davies Sep 25, 2023 8:25PM ET
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being accountable is not insane but to keep spending as this country has for decades certainly is insane, thankfully a few have the courage to stop this insanity. Obviously Max is blind to sound reasoning and the truth.
Jason Patcher
Jason Patcher Sep 25, 2023 7:37PM ET
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The shut down issue just gets me triggered lol - where to start? So I guess a joke. My bill: during government shutdowns all Congress legislatures have to wear motley and work in the office.
Will Bowers
Will Bowers Sep 25, 2023 7:14PM ET
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Should have bought a piece of property, grown a garden, provide for your family by the freedom we once had as free Americans, knowing that this day would come, the government is not going to help you.
Maximus Maximus
Maximus Maximus Sep 25, 2023 7:14PM ET
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just don't vote republican, and we'll be okay.
Will Bowers
Will Bowers Sep 25, 2023 7:14PM ET
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Maximus Maximus i only love freedom, to decide for myself, blame no one for my decisions, and learn from my mistakes. Help my fellow man, if he does not try to use me.
Maximus Maximus
Maximus Maximus Sep 25, 2023 7:14PM ET
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will.. I get what you're about, but no man is an island.. like it or not, we all depend on others sometimes. if you get a nasty eye-infection, you'll need medicine and access to a hospital, if it makes you blind, you'll need even more help.. if you have no loving family (with resources) and can no longer support yourself, then what do you do?
Will Bowers
Will Bowers Sep 25, 2023 7:14PM ET
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Maximus Maximus do tou have a safe place called a home? Do you have faith in God? We all die at some point. We cant blame anyone for the sins we have committed. We are each responsible for our own choices. Glad to talk. Hope to talk soon.
Will Bowers
Will Bowers Sep 25, 2023 7:14PM ET
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Will Bowers i have worked the same job for 31 years. My safe place is in my garden. I own my home. I only wish for free Americans to have this same opportunity to work hard and have a dream to live long and have peace with God
 
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