Greimel, Whitmer Demand Congressional Republicans End Shutdown
LANSING — State Democratic legislators, led by House Democratic Leader Tim Greimel (D-Auburn Hills) and Senate Democratic Leader Gretchen Whitmer (D-East Lansing), demanded today that Congressional Republicans bring an immediate end to the federal government shutdown that is threatening vital state programs by bringing a “clean” continuing resolution to a vote. Because of the government shutdown, now in its 10th day, Michigan is losing $18 million a day that is used to fund programs veterans, children and entrepreneurs.
“While Tea Party extremists continue to play pointless political games in Washington and hold the country hostage, it’s children, seniors, veterans and small-business owners in Michigan who are paying the price,” Greimel said. “The congressional Republicans who engineered this crisis continue to draw paychecks, while hungry children are going without food, small businesses are faltering and veterans wounded in battle are going without disability payments. This is a disgrace, and it must end now.”
Earlier this month, Michigan’s State Budget Director, John Nixon, said the state stands to lose $18 million in federal funding each day the government is shut down. As a result, several programs that serve Michiganders stand to lose funding during the shutdown or will have to scale back services. Programs affected include:
- Head Start programs: Michigan’s 39 Early Head Start and 67 Head Start programs serve 35,961 children and their families and rely on federal funding to operate.
- School lunch programs: The federally funded free and reduced-priced school lunch program serves an average of 360,438 breakfasts and 867,167 lunches daily to students from low-income families in Michigan.
- Veterans’ services: New veterans’ educational, compensation and pension benefits have been delayed, and disability payments to veterans may also be slowed. Michigan is home to 660,773 veterans.
- Small Business Administration programs: Entrepreneurs who seek federally guaranteed small-business loans to open or expand will see their applications delayed. The SBA typically receives 1,000 applications each week.
- New Social Security benefits: Seniors who become eligible for Social Security during the shutdown will likely have to wait for government operations to resume before new claims are processed.
- Women, Infants and Children program: The program that ensures that impoverished pregnant women, infants and toddlers could run out of money to operate as early as today.
- Real estate delays: Real estate transactions, which require identity and income verification, will likely be delayed as Internal Revenue Service operations are limited during the shutdown.
Sen. Whitmer added that Gov. Rick Snyder has refused to call on congressional Republicans to vote on a “clean” funding measure that would immediately reopen the government and ensure these important state programs are not further jeopardized by the ongoing shutdown.
“If Michigan’s Republican delegation would stop worrying about their own egos and start doing their jobs instead, they would realize that their actions are having very real and very damaging effects on the people they’re supposed to be representing in Washington,” Whitmer said. “It’s time for Republicans to end this disastrous shutdown and it’s long past time for Gov. Snyder to stop standing on the sidelines as his party’s destructive politics make it that much harder for Michigan families to get by.”