U.S. Reps question McCrory on stopping program for poor while state money going to reopen national park

Three Democratic members of North Carolina’s Congressional delegation want to know why North Carolina is again shutting down a federal benefits program while other states are able to keep the programs operating during the federal government shutdown.

“It has come to our attention that North Carolina is the lone anomaly in deciding to discontinue the operation of the the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program,” wrote Reps. G.K. Butterfield, David Price and Mel Watt in a letter today to Gov. Pat McCrory. “While other states are maintaing their TANF programs, North Carolina has ceased processing new applications. It is the only state in the country to do so.”

The congressmen wrote Tuesday in their letter (click here to read) to McCrory, a Republican, that they were concerned the cut-off of TANF was a “disturbing trend” where North Carolina, unlike other states, is opting to shut down emergency programs for vulnerable residents.

A DHHS spokeswoman told WRAL yesterday that the agency did not have enough confidence the state would be reimbursed by the federal government if other funds were used to keep TANF fully running.  North Carolina also temporarily halted issuing vouchers for infant formula and food as part of the federally-funded WIC program for two days last week,

The trio of Congressmen asked McCrory to reissue benefits as well, and said that the federal government plans on reimbursing states once the shutdown is over.

Meanwhile, McCrory’s office sent out a press release early Tuesday evening saying the governor approved using $75,000 in state funds to, along with Tennessee government officials, reopen the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which straddles the North Carolina and Tennessee border.

“This is about jobs and the economy,” McCrory said, according to a written statement.

North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services suspended taking applications for Work First, or TANF,  on Monday. The federally-funded program seeks to keep family off of long-term welfare or other benefits programs by extending up to three months of emergency benefits for families in crisis situations. The program also primarily helps children — out of the 20,709 North Carolinians enrolled in the program, two-thirds were children living with someone other than their parent, including those in foster care, according to the News & Observer.

Other states have continued to fund TANF, leaning on assurances of repayment once the government shutdown is over.

It’s a similiar scenario to North Carolina’s decision last week to stop issuing formula and food vouchers last week as part of the Woman, Infants and Children program, as reported by N.C. Policy Watch on Thursday afternoon.  DHHS Sec. Aldona Wos announced that evening that WIC benefits would resume after finding monies to restart the program.

Here is the text of the letter sent to McCrory:

 

PriceButterfieldWatt TANF by Sarah Ovaska-Few

11 Comments

  1. Frances Jenkins

    October 15, 2013 at 7:58 pm

    I have a question and a thought. The Federal HHS has refused to release any data about the ACA and not a word from the left leaning groups that pursue justice, truth and the removal of poverty. Yet with Wos, she is nailed to the cross even if she suggest work overload because Bluepoint/Blueprint with evil thoughts and defined purpose mean to make her look bad, very bad.Why is that? No evil thoughts on ACA.

  2. Alan

    October 15, 2013 at 8:41 pm

    Frances, a question & a thought, at the same time? I have no idea what you’re trying to convey, it’s all just word salad…

  3. Frances Jenkins

    October 15, 2013 at 9:11 pm

    You must feel some guilt Alan. Always do what is right even if it means exposing the ACA by Obama.

  4. Alan

    October 15, 2013 at 9:39 pm

    No guilt on my part. Your comments are truly in the tin-foil hat category.

  5. ML

    October 15, 2013 at 9:52 pm

    This has absolutely nothing to do with the ACA. Thanks Frances/LSD/douggy but you’ll need to be more specific on what data they refuse to release. Anywho, the issue with Wos and co. Is the hypocritical responses that are clearly a means to cover their ass while they wage a war on the poor that they are too ashamed to admit. They simply continue to do what they wish until they are caught and called at which point they either reverse course or issue some statement blaming someone else.

  6. david esmay

    October 15, 2013 at 9:55 pm

    Frances the Talking Troll, Wos makes herself look bad, inept, incompetent, you pick the adjective, no assistance needed.

  7. Doug Gibson

    October 16, 2013 at 9:54 am

    Frances,

    Don’t quote me on this, but I believe the plan is to report on ACA numbers (including federal exchange enrollment) on a month-to-month basis.

    Given that the exchanges have been open for about two weeks, and that computer problems (which a lot of progressives and Democrats—including Robert Gibbs—have faulted the administration for) have slowed registration rates, I’m not sure that the numbers would do anything for anyone at this point.

    At the same time, several state exchanges have released numbers, which you could probably Google and know more about than any other intern.

    On the other hand, Wos has apparently been paying people outsized salaries for the entirety of her tenure. Many of her other missteps occurred months ago, and we’re only just now unearthing them. She and her department are also being called on errors of judgement in real time because, well, they seem to show a lack of judgement.

    Finally, the computer problems that have happened under Wos’ watch don’t involve individuals having to wait a few days to buy health insurance that won’t take effect until the beginning of the year: they involve millions of dollars of payments not made for services rendered.

    So—I have no idea who Bluepoint/print might be. I’m not even clear that such a group exists. But I don’t need to be a member of some fictional left-wing Civitas analogue to see that the ACA has absolutely no bearing on what’s currently happening at DHHS.

  8. MM

    October 16, 2013 at 12:30 pm

    ML or anyone who thinks there is a war on the POOR?? is sadly beyond idiot, and those that spew +_)(*& like that are ……….what they are…

  9. RJ

    October 16, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    Hey MM, thanks for the derp.

  10. GOP Rules

    October 16, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    This only makes sense that we are not left holding the bag for these perks when the Feds decide to pull the rug out from under us.

    Also, we are far from the only state considering this….contrary to what progresso controlled WRAL will tell you, Florida, Michigan, Minnesota and Wyoming at a minimum are making similar prudent decisions, and the progressive haven of California is about to come off the fence on the same side as NC. There are a lot of decisions to be made, we are just ahead of the curve on fiscal sanity

    http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20131009/POLITICS02/310090046/Michigan-prepares-lay-off-state-workers-cut-social-programs?odyssey=tab%7Ctopnews%7Ctext%7CFRONTPAGE

    http://staugustine.com/news/local-news/2013-10-13/scott-says-no-state-funds-wuill-replace-federal-freezes#.UlxG9BaHrlI

    http://www.wyomingnews.com/articles/2013/10/13/news/19local_10-13-13.txt

    http://www.startribune.com/local/225967651.html

    http://www.latimes.com/local/la-me-shutdown-calif-20131009,0,30934.story

  11. […] response to Democratic members of North Carolina’s Congressional delegation questioning why NC decided to …, Governor McCrory sent an email to the offices of Representatives Butterfield, Price and […]