Pick up a Montana newspaper and you might get the impression that the only impact the government shutdown will have in Montana is fewer options for recreational activities.
That’s because while some Montana newspapers have been quick to print Steve Daines’ press releases about the government shutdown, there’s been very little information about the impacts of the shutdown to Montanans–outside of closures to parks and monuments and adventure tourism.
Here’s what most other newspapers in the U.S. are reporting about the impact of the shutdown to families that our top notch local news outlets are not.
The shutdown means that the government is now “unable to support the annual seasonal influenza program,” according to a memo from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
What’s more, the Center for Disease Control was forced to halt “support to state and local partners for infectious disease surveillance.” The CDC will have “significantly reduced capacity to respond to outbreak investigations, processing of laboratory samples, and maintaining the agency’s 24/7 emergency operations center.”
The Billings Gazette reported that the U.S. Department of Agriculture is allowing states some new flexibility to keep the WIC program running through October. However, what they aren’t telling you is that food stamp aid from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for 47 million low-income Americans will through the month of October, but for next month, thousands of Montanans could be left without food if funding runs out.
Head Start programs will also slowly begin closing during the shutdown. Head Start provides educational and nutritional support to kids ages 3 to 5 for low-income families. The so-called sequester–automatic cuts lawmakers decided should kick in when they failed to come up with a budget last time–have forced cuts to Head Start programs. LIEAP, the home hearing help program, will also be impacted.
Medicaid, Medicare, and VA clinics, and the Affordable Care Act will continue, in spite of the TEA Party anti-Obamacare hysteria.
Newspapers across the country are continuing to report new information about the impacts of the shutdown daily–just don’t expect any information about any of this if you live in Montana.