(CBS) — The partial glided into its third week Saturday with no end in sight. If the government is not reopened before February, millions of Americans who receive benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) — the nation’s food stamp program — could have their assistance disrupted.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees SNAP at the federal level, is one of the agencies unfunded during the partial government shutdown. Although SNAP is automatically renewed, it has not been allocated funding from Congress beyond January. Congress has appropriated $3 billion in emergency funds for SNAP distribution, but that would not cover all of February’s obligations.
In September 2018, the last month for which data is available, $4.7 billion in SNAP benefits were disbursed throughout every state. If the shutdown continues through March, there will be no remaining funding for SNAP, endangering food security for millions of Americans.