GUEST COMMENTARY: Indiana can weather federal shutdown

2013-10-09T00:00:00Z 2014-04-16T17:46:55Z GUEST COMMENTARY: Indiana can weather federal shutdownBy Mike Pence nwitimes.com
October 09, 2013 12:00 am  • 

As the federal government shutdown enters its second week, Hoosiers should know Indiana will be able to mitigate the impact and continue to meet our obligations to those who support our National Guard and to our most vulnerable citizens.

On Oct. 1, federal funding for many critical programs lapsed, and the federal government partially shut down. Employees of the Indiana National Guard whose pay comes from the federal government were put on furlough, and new federal funding for programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and the Women, Infants and Children program stopped.

On that first day of the federal shutdown, I ordered the Indiana National Guard to continue paying the 244 federally-reimbursed employees who provide support to the Guard. I consider the cost of about $33,000 a day a small price to pay for ensuring Indiana is prepared to handle any emergency. I am grateful that most of these employees have now been recalled to work, but we stand ready to take care of those who serve by making sure they have all the support they need. 

Indiana’s most vulnerable also are at risk because of the disruption in federal funding. We have 931,737 Hoosiers who receive SNAP food assistance and 27,560 who receive TANF. The WIC program helps another 280,000 Hoosiers provide nutritious food for their infants and children. The federal shutdown jeopardizes these programs and threatens those who most need assistance.

Since Indiana has administered those programs in a responsible manner, we have funds available to continue both SNAP and WIC through October and TANF through November, if need be. We will assess our resources and look at options for providing those services to Hoosiers should the shutdown go on longer.

While activity in Washington, D.C. has ground to a halt, Indiana will keep moving forward. We are investing in schools, pushing our career and technical education initiatives, and making our economy more competitive. We can do those things right here in Indiana with state resources and the help of talented Hoosiers from across the state.

Like every Hoosier, I am frustrated over this government shutdown, and I will continue to urge this administration to seek common ground with congressional leaders to reopen the government as soon as possible.

In the meantime, Hoosiers will be glad to know Indiana has the resources to weather this shutdown and mitigate the impact on our people and our economy. 

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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