Beshear: Congressional dysfunction already has cost Kentucky and McConnell only put out fire he helped start

10/16/2013 05:42 PM

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear told reporters in Frankfort on Wednesday that the federal government shutdown is already hurting Kentuckians and warned that if somehow a deal in D.C. falls apart it will get a lot worse.

Beshear expressed his anger and “disgust” with congressional leaders in the press conference for failing to keep the government funded leading to the 16-day shutdown.

Beshear, responding to a question from Pure Politics, said U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell had been “missing in action” until recently when McConnell and Democratic Leader Harry Reid helped hammer out the framework of a deal that Congress is voting on Wednesday night. While McConnell is playing a part in the deal making now, doesn’t mean he should get credit, Beshear said.

As for the effects of the shutdown, nursing home residents in Glasgow have been harmed, Beshear said. Construction on the Glasgow State Nursing Facility is complete, but the shutdown has delayed 74 residents from moving in because of delayed Medicaid certification — a two or three day process, the governor said.

In addition, nearly all of the benefits staff for the federal Veterans Administration in Louisville have been furloughed leading to delays for veterans.

If the shutdown continues, 15 percent of the nearly $8 billion in federal funds could soon stop coming into the commonwealth, he added. While some programs such as Medicaid are already appropriated thousands of Kentuckians could lose access to food assistance programs if the shutdown continues for two more weeks.

Here are list of the programs which could be at risk:

SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – food stamps), serving 854,000 Kentuckians at $110 million per month.
TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families), serving 61,000 Kentuckians at $15 million per month.
WIC (Women, Infants and Children – provides healthy food like milk, juice and oatmeal to pregnant mothers and young children), serving 130,000 Kentuckians at $10 million per month.
LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program – provides payment assistance for energy costs such as heating bills and heating oil), serving 304,000 Kentucky families at $8 million per month.
CCAP (Child Care Assistance Program – provides day care payment assistance to families) serving 40,000 Kentucky children at $8 million per month.


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