With the longest government shutdown in United States history stretching into its 25th day, federal workers and those who rely upon federal programs are experiencing tremendous hardships. One essential federal program, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), known more colloquially as food stamps and as CalFresh in California, had its funding ended as a result of the shutdown. If the shutdown continues, 38 million people across the country could go hungry. In response, today the Board of Supervisors approved a motion authored by Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis that would send a 5-signature letter to the Trump Administration and Congress asking for a restart of SNAP funding.
“Approximately 1.1 million County residents, of which over half a million are children, rely on CalFresh every day, including nearly 21,000 infants and more than 47,000 seniors,” said Supervisor Solis. “This unnecessary shutdown is having a deeply harmful impact on those that rely on important government services, as well as the federal workers that administer these programs. As elected officials, we swore an oath to uphold the Constitution and do our best to serve our constituents. The Trump Administration is failing this test of their ability to provide basic needs to the American people.”
Federal funding of SNAP ended on December 21 when the partial government shutdown began. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which manages the SNAP program, initially guaranteed funding for the program only through the end of January. On January 8, the USDA announced that they will accelerate payments to states to issue February’s food stamp benefits by January 20th. However, SNAP benefits for March and subsequent months are still at risk if the shutdown continues.
“LA County is deeply concerned with the impact this shutdown is having and will continue to have on innocent County residents,” continued Supervisor Solis. “President Trump is holding food for our most vulnerable residents hostage in a losing attempt to fund a pointless border wall. The federal government must restart its funding stream for this desperately needed program as soon as possible.”