How the Government Shutdown is Affecting Food in North Texas

As the battle over the spending plan for the fiscal year wages on, hundreds of thousands of meals from the North Texas Food Bank may not make it to families that need them. Dallas Morning News’ Christina Rosales reported yesterday that 10 truckloads of USDA food have been canceled. Another 36 are possibly at risk. The nonprofit food bank is worried that it will fall 305,000 meals short in the next few months. With a lack of volunteers and low food inventory, this creates a big problem for the NTFB.

If any of y’all feel tugged to help, visit ntfb.org.

(By the way, Cafe 43 at the George Bush Presidential Library is open, even though the library itself is closed. The museum and cafe are open.)

5 comments on “How the Government Shutdown is Affecting Food in North Texas

  1. I am surprised that the Food Bank would be affected by the shutdown since the executive branch determines what is funded and what isn’t during the shutdown. Does Obama really want to cut off food to the poor?

  2. So, Dubious Brother – are you suggesting that the Executive Branch should demand that all employees show up for work with no guarantee that Congress will approve a budget that allows them to get paid for the time that they have worked? I doubt Obama “wants” to effectively force people into servitude any more than he wants to cut off food to the poor.

  3. It is my understanding that 83% of the government is not shut down and that it is the executive branch’s discretion what does and doesn’t stay operative. Congress has also voted to pay the government workers back pay despite the fact they have not been working. That is not forcing anyone into servitude unless you consider the taxpayers that are having to pay taxes for services they are not receiving but are having to pay for. That is why I was surprised that the Food Bank would be affected.

  4. That 83% number is largely influenced by entitlement programs (Social Security, Mediare, Medicade), which continue to provide benefits during the shutdown and which take up a significant chunk of the budget. Note that the 83% is in terms of spending, and not in terms of services or employees. (http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/10/07/reports-show-less-than-20-percent-fed-government-is-really-shut-down/ )

    In terms of the backpay, the House has approved backpay for furloughed employees, but the Senate has not.

    There is some discretion in who performs work, but it is limited to identifying workers “who are performing emergency work involving the safety of human life or the protection of property or performing certain other types of excepted work.” (http://www.govexec.com/pay-benefits/2013/10/focus-who-faces-furloughs/71122/?oref=skybox) Federal employees that do not meet this definition are legally prohibited from working until there are appropriations, regardless of whether a law is passed to provide backpay. Programs that rely on appropriations to support the Food Bank and similar social programs are unlikely to fit the criteria for providing these types of essential/emergency services, and that’s why they’re affected.