Shutdown: Posturing Over Progress

Jan 4, 2019  | 2 min  | Ep4420

The battle over federal funding remains at an impasse.  Congressional leaders are standing their ground - waiting for the other side to blink.

Portions of the USDA remain closed. Those in rural America, who benefit from services provided by the Department of Agriculture, are forced to sit on the sidelines and wait for the deadlock to be broken.

John Torpy has more. (contact: torpy@iptv.org

As the 115th Congress convenes, the war of words along Pennsylvania Avenue over the partial government shutdown is focused on provocation rather than progress.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, White House Press Secretary: “Look, the President has been willing to negotiate from the beginning, but he’s not going to put our national security and the safety of the American people at risk.”

Senator Nancy Pelosi, D – CA: “The President cannot hold public employees hostage because he wants to have a wall that is not effective, not effective in terms of its purpose, not cost effective in terms of the opportunity cost it is of Federal dollars to spend, and the President has said that Mexico is going to pay for this. Come on, let’s anchor ourselves into reality. Mexico is not going to pay for this wall. So no.”

While discussions of returning the federal government to full service remain stalled over the building of a wall along the southern U.S. border, portions of the Department of Agriculture remain at work. Inspectors monitoring meat, poultry and egg operations, along with grain and commodity inspections remain on the job.

Import and export inspections continue as normal, as well as research related infrastructure maintenance which will allow projects to resume once the budget impasse is cleared.

Market Facilitation Payments to farmers that have already been certified will be completed during the shutdown.

Demand side-subsidies, including SNAP, will receive funding through January. School lunch subsidies will continue with the funds already distributed to individual states until all of the money has been consumed.  

Among the divisions of the USDA that remain shuttered are Farm Service Agency county offices, the offices that generate agricultural statistics, and the recreational sites that are part of the US Forest Service.

As of Friday, the partial shutdown will have been in place for two weeks. There are 380,000 federal employees on furlough and an additional 420,000 working without pay.

For Market to Market, I’m John Torpy

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