The King County Exec’s office doesn’t mince words — nor should it — in this press release about what the shutdown is doing to nutrition programs in the county.
Advance layoff notices were sent this morning to 82 King County employees who provide essential nutrition services for Women, Infants and Children, as a consequence of the continuing federal shutdown.
“This self-inflicted, manufactured crisis will interrupt essential nutrition services for
38,000 pregnant women, new mothers, and young children in King County,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “They are literally taking food from the mouths of babies.”
As a result of the shutdown, USDA funding in King County and Washington state for the Women, Infants and Children program, known as WIC, will expire on October 31st. The loss of funding will have a total economic impact of up to $30 million dollars a year, including $23 million that goes directly for food for families.
WIC is a federally-funded nutrition program that helps 38,000 women and children in King County eat well, learn about nutrition and stay healthy. The program provides vouchers for nutritious foods and infant formula, health screenings, nutrition and health education, and breastfeeding support. WIC services are provided through Public Health – Seattle & King County clinics and nine community partners, including community health centers, Swedish Medical Center, Neighborhood House and Open Arms.
I can’t even imagine that Republicans think this is OK. And yet they do. They think it’s fine and dandy to starve children because they don’t want their constituents to be able to afford health care.
These sort of cuts are going on everywhere, but since this press release is King County, let’s think of Dave Reichert. He represents some of those children, and their mothers, who won’t have enough to eat. Some of those 38,000 women and children are his constituents and his neighbors in King County.
He says he would vote for a clean CR. And good on him for that. But as far as I can see, he hasn’t done anything to push that vote to the floor. He’s still saying the Democrats are the problem instead of his GOP colleagues having a temper tantrum, so he still thinks shutting down the government is a legit tactic to get legislative concessions, hungry babies be damned. He hasn’t called for a vote, at least publicly. I don’t think he has signed on to the discharge petition that would bring the vote to the floor (I couldn’t find a list of who has). He voted against the Democrats’ parliamentary maneuver to have the vote. It’s more important to him to show some sort of unity with the people holding the government hostage than to feed his neighbors.