By Don Knabe
Los Angeles County Supervisor
As you know, at the stroke of midnight [Monday] night, the federal government shut down due to the inability of Congress to work together. This government shutdown will have ripple effects throughout the nation, impacting programs and services like national parks, veteran pensions, Coast Guard patrols and passport services.
Fortunately, however, the shutdown is not expected to significantly hurt Los Angeles County’s operations. A big reason why is because Medicaid, which accounts for over half of the County’s federal revenue, is a mandatory program, and is thus excluded from the shutdown.
However, two programs offered by Los Angeles County to residents in need, food stamps and CalWorks, could become tied up in the congressional mess. If these programs do not receive an extension by the end of the month, both will expire and the County, the ultimate safety net, will need to find other resources to continue providing these essential public-assistance programs.
If Congress can’t come together and reach an agreement soon, this shutdown is not only going to impact “non-essential” services. It will hurt everyday people, like our military veterans, who rely on federal assistance programs that are necessary for their livelihoods.
We need long-term vision and a thoughtful plan, not shutdowns and more last-minute, crisis debates, which do nothing but make the American people even more frustrated with their government.