Monday, September 16, 2019

Federal Government Shutdown: Its Impact on Latinos

Gov Shutdown
It is the fourth day of the federal shutdown and there is still no clear path forward, but what does remain evident is the large number of Latinos that will be affected by the shutdown nationwide—if they’re not being affected already.

As of Tuesday, not only were immigration cases put on hold for as long as the shutdown lasts, but more than 150,000 Latino federal workers, including medical researchers, park rangers, climate scientists and civilian employees working for the military, are likely to be furloughed without pay if the shutdown continues in the next few weeks. However, among the most likely to be affected by the shutdown is women and children.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Saturday that if a federal government shutdown would occur, “No additional federal funds would be available to support the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC)’s clinical services, food benefits and administrative costs.” The WIC program reportedly helps 9 million low-income pregnant women and new moms buy healthy food and Latinos make up 45% of all the participants.

The federal government shutdown comes as the House refused to give up on trying to prevent the spending of any money on the Affordable Care Act, recognizably known as Obamacare.  The House passed a bill on Saturday to fund government and avoid the shutdown with amendments attached that would delay the health care law. However, the Democratic-controlled Senate took up the issue again on Monday and squashed the House amendments, voting 54-46 to send the short-term spending bill back to the House.

White House officials have said the shutdown won’t affect the opening of the health insurance marketplaces where President Barack Obama last week urged Americans to go to and start browsing their choices for health care insurance. The health insurance marketplace launched on Tuesday Oct. 1st as expected and although many question the fate of this prominent issue, others like Javier Palomarez, CEO of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, expressed their support for affordable health care as crucial for the well-being of American workers and businesses.

NBC Latino