Shutdown could soon hurt countyPublished 12:14am Sunday, October 6, 2013
The federal government shutdown has not had much of a noticeable impact on Lawrence Countians yet, but the potential for that increases every day that it continues and means some of the most at-risk citizens could face challenges ahead.
Gene Myers, director of the Lawrence County Department of Job and Family Services, said it has been business as usual for the agency that receives more than 60 percent of its funding from the federal government.
Nearly one third of county residents receive some form of benefits from DJFS, including food assistance and unemployment. All these benefits have continued as expected — and should at least through the end of October — but that doesn’t mean it won’t change if this political deadlock continues.
The shutdown, the first since 1995, began on Tuesday after the House of Representatives and the Senate could not agree on legislation to fund specific parts of the government. The dispute centers on the enactment of the Affordable Care Act, which the Republican-driven House wants to delay. The last shutdown lasted for 21 days.
Other government-funded agencies in the county could face issues as well if this continues.
Far too often the focus is that this is a fight in Washington, D.C. That may be true but the ramifications soon could be felt in small towns like Ironton all across America.
Something has to change quickly before the citizens most in need of aid are left in difficult situations. Republicans and Democrats alike are to blame and politics is once again hurting the average citizen.
It is not too late to stop the shutdown and ensure that some of those most in need are not forgotten.