Kansas Warns WIC Payments in Kansas in Jeopardy because of Shutdown
October 10, 2013

(AP) Kansas officials began notifying county health clinics on Wednesday that a program providing cash subsidies to women and children will cease issuing checks later this month because of the federal government shutdown.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment said in a news release that because of uncertain funding, checks won’t be issued for November or December through the federal Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women Infants and Children, commonly known as WIC.

“We are hopeful that the shutdown will be resolved before it impacts WIC past the month of October,” said David Thomason, state WIC director. “But we must be fiscally responsible during this time of uncertainty.”

The program supplies low-income women with checks or debit cards that can be used for infant formula and cereal, fruits and vegetables, dairy items and other healthy food. WIC also provides breast-feeding support and nutrition classes. Low-income women with children under 5 are eligible.

KDHE estimates WIC serves 70,000 residents each month through contracts with county health departments.

Checks are valid for 30 days after they are issued. All county health clinics were fully operational and serving clients as of Wednesday. KDHE also said the agency would be working with grocery stores that participate in the WIC program to keep them informed about the status of the program.

States have been taking similar steps across the country in the wake of the shutdown. Many charitable organizations have stepped forward to help continue assistance to families

Shutdown Leaves Microbrew Taps Dry for Now
October 10, 2013

Construction at the Martin City Brewing Company.

The partial government shutdown is starting to affect the beer business. Microbreweries and craft beers in particular.
It has thrown Mathew Moore’s plans to open a microbrewery in the south Kansas City district known as Martin City.
“We have no communication with them. On their side, we have e-mails in, we have calls in, but nothing is being returned because nobody is working,” said Moore.
Moore and many other brewers rely on a small federal agency called the Alcohol, Tobacco, Tax & Trade Bureau (TTB) to get the. Federal paperwork they need to start brewing.
The TTB checks to make sure the federal liquor taxes are paid. It also is responsible for making sure the information the lakes on bottled beer is accurate.
That’s a major element in smaller craft beers that usually put out several brands or seasonal flavors.the Boulevard Brewing Company says it avoided a problem by submitting information early for some season beers it plans to release.
Moore’s opening of his Martin City Brewing Company brewery has been delayed by construction. He hopes to open the facility later this year.
The government shutdown, however, still has him hung up.
He says he tried to reach the Small Business Administration (SBA) Wednesday to see if he could get an extension on his million dollar loan for the project. But he found out the SBA is also closed because of the shutdown.

Blunt Says He Knew House GOP Shutdown Plan Had Problems
October 3, 2013

Missourinet via Johncombest;
Senator Blunt says House Republicans had no chance of killing the Affordable Care Act. He won’t say motivation was bad or that the goal was wrong. But he says he knew the House Republicans’ strategy wouldn’t work. He says it was obvious President Obama would not approve a bill that would kill the signature accomplishment of his presidency. And he says it also was obvious two-thirds of the members of Congress would not approve overriding the veto.
Now he’s afraid the government shutdown could stretch out. “If it doesn’t end in the next couple of days it won’t end until both the debt limit and, at least the relatively intermediate term, funding question is resolved. I think it shouldn’t have happened,” he says.
Blunt says some people think it’s fine that federal employees have been laid off. He says people don’t like government employees until they need one. He says he’s keeping his offices open so people have somebody to call if they have a problem.

Shutdown Update: So How Long Is This Going to Last?
October 1, 2013

(AP) – Congress plunged the nation into a partial government shutdown Tuesday as a long-running dispute over President Barack Obama’s health care law stalled a temporary funding bill, forcing about 800,000 federal workers off the job and suspending most non-essential federal programs and services.

With the Republican-controlled House and Democratic-controlled Senate at a stalemate, it was unclear how long the government would remain shuttered. The No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, Dick Durbin of Illinois, called the failure to pass a budget “conduct unbefitting a responsible Congress” and said he hoped it could be resolved by the end of the day Tuesday.

“Most people in the body politic are taking a look at this and saying, ‘A pox on both of your houses. It should never have reached this point,'” Durbin said Tuesday morning on CNN. “And there’s wisdom to that.”

The shutdown, the first since the winter of 1995-96, closed national parks, museums along the Washington Mall and the U.S. Capitol visitors center. The Smithsonian website displayed a red banner noting that “all Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo are closed.”

Agencies like NASA and the Environmental Protection Agency will be all but shuttered. People classified as essential government employees – such as air traffic controllers, Border Patrol agents and most food inspectors – will continue to work.

The health care law itself was unaffected as enrollment opened Tuesday for millions of people shopping for medical insurance.

The White House was operating with a skeletal staff, including household workers taking care of the first family’s residence and presidential aides working in the West Wing. A groundskeeper working outside Tuesday morning at daybreak said he was doing the job normally handled by four workers.

The military will be paid under legislation freshly signed by Obama, but paychecks for other federal workers will be withheld until the impasse is broken. Federal workers were told to report to their jobs for a half-day but to perform only shutdown tasks like changing email greetings and closing down agencies’ Internet sites.

The self-funded Postal Service will continue to operate and the government will continue to pay Social Security benefits and Medicare and Medicaid fees to doctors on time

Shutdown Nears, House Expects Another Last Ditch Vote
September 30, 2013

(AP) – A conservative challenge to the president’s health care law has the federal government teetering on the brink of a partial shutdown.

The Senate has the next move on must-do legislation required to keep the government open past midnight on Monday, and the Democratic-led chamber is expected to reject the latest effort from House Republicans to use a normally routine measure to attack President Barack Obama’s signature health care law.

Congress was closed for the day on Sunday after a post-midnight vote in the GOP-run House to delay by a year key parts of the new health care law and repeal a tax on medical devices as the price for avoiding a shutdown. The Senate is slated to convene Monday afternoon just 10 hours before the shutdown deadline, and Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has already promised that majority Democrats will kill the House’s latest volley.

A House GOP leader, Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California, said the House would again rebuff the Senate’s efforts to advance the short-term funding bill as a simple, “clean” measure shorn of anti-heath care reform provisions.

Since the last government shutdown 17 years ago, temporary funding bills known as continuing resolutions have been noncontroversial, with neither party willing to chance a shutdown to achieve legislative goals it couldn’t otherwise win. But with health insurance exchanges set to open Tuesday, tea party Republicans are willing to take the risk in their drive to kill the law, so-called “Obamacare.”

“You’re going to shut down the government if you can’t prevent millions of Americans from getting affordable care,” said Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md.

A leader of the tea party Republicans, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, insisted the blame rests with Senate Democrats.

“The House has twice now voted to keep the government open. And if we have a shutdown, it will only be because when the Senate comes back, Harry Reid says, ‘I refuse even to talk,'” said Cruz, who led a 21-hour broadside against allowing the temporary funding bill to advance if stripped clean of a tea party-backed provision to derail Obamacare. The effort failed.

The battle started with a House vote to pass the short-term funding bill with a provision that would have eliminated the federal dollars needed to put Obama’s health care overhaul into place. The Senate voted along party lines to strip that out and set the measure back to the House.

The latest House bill, passed early Sunday by a near party-line vote of 231-192, sent back to the Senate two major changes: a one-year delay of key provisions of the health insurance law and repeal of a new tax on medical devices that partially funds it. The steps still go too far for the White House and its Democratic allies.

Senate rules often make it difficult to move quickly, but the chamber can act on the House’s latest proposals by simply calling them up and killing them.

Eyes were turning to the House for its next move. A senior leader vowed the House would not simply give in to Democrats’ demands to pass the Senate’s “clean” funding bill.

“The House will get back together in enough time, send another provision not to shut the government down, but to fund it, and it will have a few other options in there for the Senate to look at again,” said McCarthy, the No. 3 House Republican leader.

He suggested that House Republicans would try blocking a mandate that individuals buy health insurance or face a tax penalty, saying there might be some Democratic support in the Senate for that.