THE SHUTDOWN, DAY 6: Jefferson, Clallam counties may take money hit if federal impasse lasts long
By Rob Ollikainen
Peninsula Daily News
Print This | Email This
Cold snap poised to end on Peninsula — but that's midweek; till then, snow? -- 12/7/13 -07:09 PM
Today's PDN Page 1 . . . and read faster, absorb more -- 12/7/13 -06:51 PM
Peninsula Home Fund helps with new home, job gear -- 12/7/13 -06:47 PM
'Chris, this is Jay — welcome to the bench': How governor told Melly he's the next Clallam Superior Court judge -- 12/7/13 -07:16 PM
Hearings examiner position Melly will vacate might be cut -- 12/7/13 -07:12 PM
In particular, the congressional impasse that began Monday threatens the Women, Infants and Children's nutrition program, known as WIC.
County health departments distribute the federal funds to low-income mothers, pregnant women, babies and young children within their jurisdictions.
“It's a huge deal,” Clallam County Administrator Jim Jones said.
WIC provides close to a $1 million per year in benefits to Clallam County families.
Jefferson County Public Health serves 840 families on WIC.
“It's quite a few dollars a month in groceries,” department Director Jean Baldwin said.
Set to expire Wednesday
Federal funding for WIC was set to expire Wednesday.
Clallam County Health and Human Services Director Iva Burks said the funding has been temporarily extended “while they work things out in Washington, D.C.”
“The state is reallocating funds and is planning on carrying it for a week,” Baldwin said. “At the end of a week, the feds are saying that they will reallocate funding to carry it until the end of October.”
If the government shutdown lasts into November, however, the program will shut down, Baldwin said.
“The actual other cuts in terms of [U.S.] Fish and Wildlife and federal EPA [Environmental Protection Agency], all of those are just slow-downs and kind of messes we're trying to figure out — who we call and how we interact with them,” Baldwin added.
Jones said the shutdown mainly affects health and human services, although the road department and juvenile services receive a good chunk of federal money passed through the state.
Since there is a “couple months' lag” for the federal funds to reach the counties, the shutdown so far has had a minimal impact on county finances, Jones said.
Jefferson County Administrator Philip Morley has said the government shutdown would be “significant” if it goes on much longer than a week.
He could not be reached for comment Friday.
Clallam County Veterans Coordinator Tammy Sullenger has relied on the National Archives to access a veteran's discharge papers to confirm that he or she is eligible for benefits.
“We just found out that it was shut down,” Jones said Friday afternoon.
“We can't help the needy veterans at this moment.”
Beyond the government shutdown, Burks and Baldwin said their departments were cut by the federal budget sequester that took effect in March.
Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5072, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last modified: October 05. 2013 7:00PM