Guam – Is SNAP about to snap? The short answer is no. The long answer is anyone’s guess. This morning many on island were worried that the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for 53,000 Guam residents could be on the chopping block in a partial federal shutdown already in its third week.
This, as President Trump is demanding that Congress funds a $5 billion border wall with Mexico before he signs off on a federal funding bill. On a day when Trump addressed the nation about the controversial immigration security standoff that caused the shutdown, it’s all sending local and national food stamp recipients and administrators into a tailspin of hope, fear, and doubt about how our nation’s qualified assistance recipients will make ends meet.
“There is good news — the SNAP participants will be able to be issued their February benefits,” said Linda DeNorcey in a call-in update to The Andrea Pellacani Show on Newstalk K57 late Wednesday morning. DeNorcey is Gov. Leon Guerrero’s choice to head the Dept. of Public Health and Social Services as Acting Director until her appointment is heard by the 35th Legislature.
“Right now my staff is working diligently to contact all the SNAP recipients to have their SNAP benefits renewed at this moment in time,” DeNorcey said.
But so far there’s no timeline on when the benefits could cease, because it’s unknown how long the federal shutdown will persist, much less how pervasive it will become by the time the entire federal government finally opens back up for business.
Though hopeful that the shutdown won’t last much longer, President Trump made no promises during his address from the Oval Office at noon, Guam time, today. The irony? Some of the very folks who are receiving assistance on the up and up could be hurt by a shutdown purportedly aimed at protecting the nation’s underemployed.
“But all Americans are hurt by uncontrolled, illegal migration,” Trump told the nation. “It strains public resources and drives down jobs and wages. Among those hardest hit are African Americans and Hispanic Americans.”
Meantime, DeNorcey and ABC News report that funding for school lunches and the after school meals is covered through March of this year. For now, SNAP and the lunch program continue until the border security face-off is resolved, or till Congress provides another interim solution.
The US Dept. of Agriculture will work with recipient states and territories to load SNAP benefits cards by January 20, just within the deadline for a provision that allows them to pay out benefits even without a budget. DeNorcey said she and her team will be working through the weekend to help SNAP participants get their cards loaded up on time.