Congresswoman Chellie Pingree said if Congress fails to pass aspending bill by the end of this month and forces a government shutdown, 45million people, including 230,000 in Maine, could lose their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits (formerly known as food stamps) on October 1st.
"A politically motivated government shutdown would be a real hardship for thousands of Maine families, veterans and seniors who depend on food stamps to help make ends meet each month," Pingree said. "It's shameful that some Congressional Republicans are trying to use their opposition to Planned Parenthood to force a government shutdown at the expense of families struggling to put food on the table."
During the last government shutdown, Recovery Act funding was able to keep the food stamp program running, but that funding has run out and now the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will not have enough funding to cover the cost of food stamps in October and may be forced to shut down the program on October 1st.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program provides monthly food benefits to 45 million Americans.
"If Congress does not act to avert a lapse in appropriations, then USDA will not have the funding necessary for SNAP benefits in October and will be forced to stop providing benefits within the first several days of October," a USDA spokesperson said in an email. "Once that occurs, families won’t be able to use these benefits at grocery stores to buy the food their families need."
Pingree is a member of the House Appropriations Committee and sits on the Appropriations subcommittee that provides funding for USDA.