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  • Gov’t Shutdown Could Mean No Food Stamps For Millions

    A possible government shutdown next month over whether to defund Planned Parenthood could mean 46 million Americans losing their food stamp benefits, according to reports Tuesday.

    The problem is a lack of reserve money. The food stamp program, officially known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), is run by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). If the government shuts down, the USDA warns, it would have to end benefits within the first several days of October.

    “If Congress does not act to avert a lapse in appropriations, then USDA will not have the funding necessary for SNAP benefits in October,” Catherine Cochran, a spokeswoman for USDA, told The Associated Press. “Once that occurs, families won’t be able to use these benefits at grocery stores to buy the food their families need.”

    A dispute on whether to defund Planned Parenthood is the main issue which threatens to shutdown the government. Lawmakers have till the first of October to pass a budget. If they don’t, the federal government will run out of funds and have to shutdown.

    House Republicans passed a budget proposal Sept. 18 which would cutoff funds to Planned Parenthood for a year. The proposal looks unlikely to pass the Senate and even less likely to be signed by President Barack Obama. If the House proposal or an alternative doesn’t pass, the government shuts down.

    The move to defund Planned Parenthood comes with renewed criticism over how the group handles abortions. The debate centers around a video The Center for Medical Progress, a right-of-center medical ethics group, published that shows a Planned Parenthood employee casually discussing, over a salad, how the organization harvest fetus organs after an abortion. The video was just the first in a series of footage that prompted a national backlash. This included renewed calls to end federal funding for Planned Parenthood.

    The footage was part of a 3-year investigative effort. Dr. Deborah Nucatola talked to undercover actors she thought were buyers from a human biologics company.

    Supporters of Planned Parenthood claim the videos were misleading and politically motivated. They also argue the organization offers too many critical services for women and families to be defunded.

    During the 2013 government shutdown, SNAP benefits did continue without a problem. The USDA did not elaborate further on exactly why the automatic funding would not continue this time around. The department told state lawmakers in a letter Sept. 18. to hold off shutting off benefits until otherwise hold.

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