NC Budget and Tax Center

Shutdown spreading unnecessary economic pain to many vulnerable children and families

The ongoing shutdown is a nightmare for low-income Americans who, time after time, are the hardest hit when politicians hold the economy hostage for political gain. Vulnerable populations, including many North Carolinians, were already dealing with deep across-the-board sequestration cuts to social programs in March. Now, due to the absence of responsible behavior by the House of Representatives, the shutdown is adding another layer of economic pain to struggling families trying to make ends meet and gain a foothold on the economic ladder. The U.S. House needs to pass a spending plan for 2014, without obligations.

You don’t have to look far to see the devastation that the shutdown—now in its 10th day—is causing among North Carolinians. Hours after the shutdown Governor McCrory furloughed 337 federally-funded health and human services workers, including child care regulators whose role is to enforce quality and safety measures in child care centers across the state.  He also reduced the hours for employees who are paid in-part by federal funds. Some of the federal workers furloughed in the state took to a protest earlier today, urging federal lawmakers to re-open the federal government because they want to work and have families to support.

The pain doesn’t stop there. The shutdown is strangling the delivery of food assistance in North Carolina. We learned a couple days ago that some families are being turned away from WIC—the food and nutrition program for new mothers and young children. So, for some women who are now delivering babies but aren’t sure where their next meal will come from, there is one less support to help them keep their babies healthy and weather the stressors of new motherhood. North Carolina is the only state to stop issuing food vouchers.

And by Friday’s end, 484 low-income children in Lee County will no longer be able to attend their child care center due to the lapse in funding for child care subsidies. Not only will families be forced to find alternative child care or risk losing their jobs, but the sting will be felt by the 47 day care providers who attend to and teach these children on a daily basis. Funding for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, which helps extremely low-income families get on the path to self-sufficiency, will run out by month’s end in the absence of federal dollars.

Businesses, particularly the tourism industry, are also feeling the economic pain. At least two privately run hotels operating on leased federal property were forced to close their doors until the shutdown resolves, leaving workers without jobs in the meantime.

In a nutshell, the shutdown is pushing people out of work when the nation needs to be putting more people back to work, turning away mothers and their young in need of food assistance, and robbing children of their ability to learn and develop in a healthy environment. The longer the shutdown lasts, the more harm it causes to vulnerable children, families, and our economy.

But, it doesn’t have to be this way. The U.S. House should pass a spending plan for 2014, without conditions, that includes a responsible mix of new revenue and smart spending cuts that supports the economy and does not grow poverty.


  1. Jim Wiseman

    October 10, 2013 at 4:48 pm

    Call Obama and tell him to end the shutdown by signing up for it himself. He’s the holdup.

  2. RJ

    October 10, 2013 at 5:06 pm

    Thanks for setting us all straight, Big Jim! Never again will I forget that every problem has been caused by Obama.

  3. david esmay

    October 10, 2013 at 5:37 pm

    Let’s see, Republicans want to spend, but not meet the financial obligations they voted for, has a familiar ring to it.

  4. LayintheSmakDown

    October 10, 2013 at 7:20 pm

    davey….there are no financial obligations. There is no budget that has been voted for! Barry has been to inept to submit one.

  5. Doug Gibson

    October 10, 2013 at 8:40 pm


    Really, go to bed. You’ll feel much better, and you’ll stop putting up such weak comments.

    President Obama’s FY 2013 budget request

    President Obama’s FY 2014 budget request

    Senate FY 2014 budget, as passed in March 2013

  6. Susie

    October 10, 2013 at 10:58 pm

    our country is broke and in the near future, these taxpayer paid checks and welfare will come to a permanent end….then how are these “low income” people going to feed themselves when the well is dry. Wake up people, the U.S. A. has been operating on borrowed money for many years, and it can’t go on. Better be ready for the food riots, roaming gangs, etc… is already here.

  7. david esmay

    October 11, 2013 at 5:56 am

    “There are no financial obligations”, you’ve got to be kidding, and by the way, the House is responsible for budget resolutions not the President. Doogie/LSD/GOPTools, is a prime example of why home schooling in a single wide doesn’t cut it.

  8. david esmay

    October 11, 2013 at 5:58 am

    Doogie/LSD, by law, the President is required to submit a budget every year and he has.

  9. GOP Rules

    October 11, 2013 at 8:14 am

    You have the most pertinent point. A president/party who refuses to even talk to other politicians and takes everything off the table will not last very long. Especially when they are going against the will of the people.

  10. Jim Wiseman

    October 11, 2013 at 8:58 am

    Yeah, and it’s always about “the children.” Why are these programs and others like survivor military benefits the first to be cut, while BHO continues his vacations and fundraiser travel? And then he refuses to negotiate, when the other side has offered at least 3 different plans? This isn’t about Democrats and Republicans. It is about total control of our lives, a goal shared by many on both sides.

  11. Jim Wiseman

    October 11, 2013 at 9:29 am

    …And no, Obama isn’t the source of all our problems; he inherited many of them. He just hasn’t done anything to solve them. Everything he does makes them worse.

  12. Jayhawk

    October 11, 2013 at 11:33 am

    I wouldn’t complain about people caring about the “the children” because you’re both aging. They will grow into the workers that will sustain institutions, communities, and economy that you will have to live with when you’re too old to do it yourself. So maybe you should be worried about children getting some good building blocks. Otherwise, their incompetence could become your direct problem in your future.

  13. Jack

    October 11, 2013 at 11:37 am

    Repubs thot they could shutdown the gov. without hurting business reveals that as elected officials to congress they know nothing about how government supports employment and business and other aspects of American life. We Americans owe our lifestyle to our collective efforts through the national government.

    But the truth is that Repubs vowed to block anything from this White House. The government isn’t broke but Republicans are.

  14. Jim Wiseman

    October 12, 2013 at 10:28 am

    Yes, Republicans are broken. But the statist machine is humming right along.

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