Editor’s note: There is no way to ignore the elephant in the room– the American government has shut down “non-essential” services/departments. Several writers of the Hivemind wanted the chance to discuss the harm that is being done.
Over 8.9 million moms and kids under five living near or below the poverty line rely on [WIC's] supplemental vouchers for healthy food, breastfeeding support, infant formula and other necessities dispensed at clinics nationwide.1
The USDA estimates that most states will be able to continue WIC operations as usual for “a week or so” before running out of money. The department’s Food and Nutrition Service has a contingency fund of only $125 million available for this $7 billion annual appropriation.
USDA communications director Bruce Alexander told Forbes that the department is working with agencies at state level to continue providing benefits until funds run out.
“The Food and Nutrition Service will be allocating both contingency and carryover funds to state agencies for use in operating their fiscal year 2014 WIC program, in addition to other available funds,” he said. “Should a lapse extend through late October, federal WIC funding may not be sufficient to cover benefits.”
Apparently making sure that pregnant women and babies don’t starve to death isn’t an “essential” government service.
I’m not the only one who sees this whole fucking fiasco as just another (albeit larger) salvo in the ongoing War Against Women. On Monday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren said,
With millions of people still out of work, with an economic recovery that is still far too fragile, with students and families being crushed by student loan debt, with millions of seniors denied one hot meal a day with Meals on Wheels and millions of little children pushed out of Head start because of a sequester that is dragging down the middle class, with the country hours away from a government shutdown and days away from a potential default on the nation’s debt, the Republicans have decided that the single most important issue facing our nation is to change the law so that employers can deny women access birth control coverage. In fact, letting employers decide whether women can get birth control covered on their insurance plans is SO important that the Republicans are willing to shutter the government and potentially tank the economy. Over whether women can access birth control coverage. In the year 2013. Not the year 1913—the year 2013.
Shorter Republicans: We’re angry that private employers have to provide private insurance that covers birth control, so we’re going to take food away from babies!
They might as well start kicking kids with cancer, just to cement their Batman villain status. Oh wait, they already did.
Alexandra is the Hivemind’s benevolent overlady, who resides in that strange dimension where she has both too much time on her hands for her own good and she doesn’t have enough hours in the day to get everything done. She is still reading Have a Nice Day! A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks by Mick Foley because it’s only been two days. Jesus.