Government shutdown: local impact

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(ABC 6 News) – From federal agencies to programs that receive federal funding, groups nationwide brace themselves for a potential government shutdown.

For many, the fallout could mean essential aid comes to a screeching halt.

“WIC is one of those programs that’s going to lose funding pretty quickly and so it could have pretty drastic effects for the families that are receiving that,” University of St. Thomas economics professor Tyler Schipper said.

WIC, the nutritional program for Women, Infants, and Children, provides nutrition information and serves families with infants and children up to the age of 5.

They serve over 100,000 Minnesotans every month.

If a government shutdown becomes a reality, their funding could be cut off as soon as this Sunday, but Minnesota’s WIC program says they’re prepared.

“The Minnesota WIC including Olmsted County WIC will continue to operate even if there is a government shutdown on October 1st,” WIC services manager of Olmsted County Wendy O’Leary said.

The WIC program in Olmsted County said they’ll have enough funding in reserves after Oct. 1 to keep the program running.

They want to encourage participants to use their benefits despite the possible shutdown.

“We want to ensure that they continue to use their benefits at the grocery store and continue to receive the services that they need,” O’Leary said.

Still, if Congress fails to act before the end of the month, there’s no telling how long WIC and other federally funded programs will be able to operate after the shutdown.

It will also mean 17,000 federal employees in Minnesota will have their paychecks delayed until the shutdown is over.

For others, they’ll have to continue to work without getting paid at all.