As the partial shutdown of Federal agencies and services continues, the impact on the citizens and municipalities of our State will increase incrementally. The immediate and personal impact was felt on Jan. 11 when over 5,000 New Jerseyans employed by the Federal government will not receive a paycheck. They comprise over 26% of our States total Federal workforce. For their sake, and for the sake of their families, we all need to be concerned.
Going forward, and with no compromise in sight, local officials need to know the facts.
Five of the 12 total appropriations bills needed to fund federal programs and services have been enacted. In addition to all mandatory spending programs, federal discretionary grant programs administered through the following agencies will not be impacted by the partial shutdown:
U.S. Department of Labor
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
U.S. Department of Education
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
U.S. Department of Defense
U.S. Department of Energy
That means our citizens can expect uninterrupted operations and payments from Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. VA Hospitals and other service providers for veterans should remain open. Before and after school programs funded by the Department of Education, 21st Century Community Learning Center grants should not be interrupted.
Unfortunately for local leaders, the federal agencies that will be shutting down to various degrees are those that administer most federal grants allocated directly to municipal governments, including:
U.S. Department of Commerce
U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ)
U.S. Department of Interior
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA)
U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)
Accordingly, federal discretionary grants that are administered to local governments from unfunded federal agencies, including HUD’s CDBG and HOME grants, DOJ’s COPS grants, DOT’s TIGER grants, EDA’s economic development grants, SBA’s small business loans, and rural loans and grants from USDA, will be unavailable for reimbursement to local governments, and agency staff will generally be unavailable to answer questions or offer technical assistance throughout the duration of the partial government shutdown. Any local employees funded by federal grants may also be required to stop work.
Regarding the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly known as Food Stamps, USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue announced that thanks to a provision in the law that allows distribution of funds within 30 days of a shutdown, States that apply by January 20 will receive funding to continue to provide the benefit through February.
Our partners at the National League of Cities have set up a Federal Government Shutdown Resource Center, which includes links to all published agency shutdown plans and the latest information on legislative developments and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) emergency actions to avert emerging problems.
And, on Tuesday, NJSpotlight.com’s John Reitmeyer reported on the impact of the current impasse in Washington, Federal Shutdown Already Hurting NJ Amid Fears of Growing Impact.
We will do our best to keep you informed. In the meantime, if any shutdown-related problems arise in your municipality, please email Jon Moran at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line: Federal Shutdown Matter.
Contact: Jon Moran, Senior Legislative Analyst, email@example.com, 609-695-3481, x121.