As Congress begins to recover from Pope Francis’ visit to the Capitol and process House Leader Boehner’s (R-OH) announcement that he will leave Congress in October, it will once again be facing the task of how to fund the government and prevent a shutdown with only days left before the end of the fiscal year.
If Congress does not approve and the President does not sign funding legislation by midnight on September 30, the government will shut down as it did for 16 days October of 2013.
This is in addition to all the other items Congress must address this fall.
What will a shutdown mean for agriculture
Without new funding, come October 1 USDA will not be able make new farm and rural development loans, most USDA offices will close, and many crop reports will not be issued impacting farmers and rural communities.
One of the biggest impacts of a shut down that will be different from the 2013 shutdown, is the suspension of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. SNAP funds are transferred each month to the debit cards of eligible households so that they can purchase groceries. During the last shutdown USDA was able to use already appropriated funds to keep the program going during the shutdown.
Those funds are no longer available and the program will be suspended starting October 1 until a new funding bill is signed into law.