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The federal government shutdown has not had an immediate impact on the 55 agencies that run federally-funded Head Start programs in North Carolina — yet, said Head Start State Collaboration Office’s Director Khari Garvin.

“But that’s because of their funding cycles,” Garvin explained.

Head Start programs across the country are being forced to close down thanks to the federal government shutdown that began yesterday. In Talladega, Alabama, a Head Start agency had to close programs across six counties that serve 770 students, many of whom have nowhere else to go for daytime care while their parents work.

Those programs are among the first to close because their funding cycles run October 1-September 30.

In North Carolina, no programs are on that funding cycle. “If the shutdown continues, say, another 90 days, then programs will begin to be affected,” Garvin told NC Policy Watch.

Dora Jones, director of Cheaha Regional Head Start agency in Talladega, had a message for lawmakers in her interview with NPR.

“Please think of the poor innocent children that’s being affected because two groups refuse to come together as adults and make a compromise.”

In case you missed it yesterday afternoon, check out this NPR interview with Republican Congressman Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania in which the congressman places the blame for the federal government shut-down squarely on the shoulders of a group of fire-breathers in his own House Republican caucus. Dent, who opooses much of the Affordable Care Act but thinks it folly to shut down government over the matter, says that there would be an overwhelming bipartisan vote to end the shut-down and pass a clean government funding bill if only House Speaker John Boehner would bring such a proposal to the House floor.

in other words, the GOP congressman confirmed the truth of what President Obama has been saying repeatedly: the shut-down has been brought on by a small faction of far right ideologues who are holding the nation hostage.

As this article at Talking Points Memo makes clear, Tea Partiers in Congress are playing with fire with their latest exercise in political hostage taking:

“Republicans in Washington insist they have simply been upholding the wishes of the American people throughout their efforts to block the Affordable Care Act, but a poll released Tuesday tells a very different story.

In fact, the latest survey from Quinnipiac University contains a ton of bad news for the GOP. For starters, 72 percent of Americans said they are opposed to shutting down the government in order to block implemntation of the health care law. A poll last week also showed a wide majority opposed to shutting down the government over Obamacare. Read More