FACT CHECK: No, food stamp money won’t be halted if the government shut down continues

Thanks to a booming economy, scores of Americans once dependent on government largess to survive have managed to wean themselves off food programs and other forms of taxpayer-funded assistance.

That said, millions of Americans still rely on a plethora of benefits programs to make ends meet every month — and POTUS Donald Trump is well aware of that.

Despite some concerns that recipients will go without assistance during the current Democrat-imposed government shutdown, the president has directed federal agencies in charge of dispersing food benefits especially, to ensure they go out next month, Breitbart News reports.

While House Democrats refuse to pass legislation that funds the president’s requested border wall even as a humanitarian crisis plays out along the U.S.-Mexico border, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue told reporters this week that POTUS worked to ensure that low-income Americans will receive their nutritional benefits from his department.

“At President Trump’s direction, we have been working with the administration on this solution,” Perdue told reporters. “It works and is legally sound. We want to assure states, and SNAP recipients, that the benefits for February will be provided.”

Funding for the Department of Agriculture expired on Dec. 21 as no additional spending bills made it out of both chambers of Congress to keep portions of the government operating.

As such, at POTUS Trump’s instruction, the Office of Management and Budget has been working with the USDA and other agencies to find available funds for priority programs like SNAP.

Breitbart News noted further: 

The Trump administration has developed a strategy under the law to keep government nutrition programs providing services through February. Part of this solution involves directing states to submit a request for early issuance instead of operating under the regular monthly submission process. States must make their request by January 20, as this is within the 30-day provision allowed for the government food programs under the continuing resolution.

Benefits will be uninterrupted and on time, thanks to the president’s coordination

The early issuance procedure has been used in the past in anticipation of natural disasters like hurricanes. Perdue, along with Brandon Lipps, acting deputy undersecretary of Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services at USDA, confirmed during a conference call with reporters last week that early issuance is being carried out without accessing the $3 billion contingency fund. (Related: Obamacare shutdown theater: President holds entire nation for ransom with contrived closings.)

Asked about what would happen if the current government shutdown were to extend into March, Perdue demurred and said that Congress needed to come together to fund shuttered agencies like his that includes money for the president’s border security initiatives. He noted further that the temporary fix involving SNAP and other nutrition programs for low-income Americans buys lawmakers plenty of time to act.

The fix means that SNAP recipients will receive their benefits on time and without any disruption of services next month. The Agriculture Department has also made sure that money for other major nutrition programs exists as well, through February.

“SNAP monthly issuance for February is estimated to be approximately $4.8 billion and State Administrative Expense (SAE) is estimated to be at about $350 million for a total need of approximately $5.1 billion,” a USDA press release said, noting states and the federal government needed to carefully coordinate to assure seamless distribution.

The department noted further that the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) “has prior year funding which USDA will begin to provide states this week to facilitate February benefits,” the release noted further, Breitbart News reported. 

The Ag department also said that additional programs “which provide critical assistance to our nation’s food banks, the elderly, and Tribal nations, may continue to utilize grant funding provided prior to the lapse in appropriations.”

Earlier, The National Sentinel reported, POTUS Trump worked with his administration and the OMB to ensure that the U.S. Coast Guard could meet its $75 million payroll during the first two weeks of January. 

See more of our fact-checking the lamestream media at MediaFactWatch.com.

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