Little impact on CNMI from US shutdown

12:50 pm on 11 January 2019

Federal agencies involved in ongoing recovery efforts from Super Typhoon Yutu and Typhoon Mangkhut in the Northern Marianas are not affected by the partial shutdown of the federal government.

The governor of the Northern Marianas, Ralph Torres.

The governor of the Northern Marianas, Ralph Torres. Photo: CNMI Republican Facebook

The government of Ralph Torres said the shutdown would have limited effect on the CNMI and relief efforts for Yutu and Manghkut.

Mr Torres said roughly three-quarters of the government had already been funded by existing funding measures.

The governor said Federal Emergency Management Agency personnel and its disaster assistance programme in the CNMI has already been funded through the Disaster Relief Fund - money that is allotted to finance aid and relief for major disasters and emergencies.

He said programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid will also not be affected and would continue with their operations.

The United States Postal Service remains open, while Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid programs fall under mandatory spending and are not affected by any annual appropriations process.

Food stamps for US Pacific assured till next month

Meanwhile, thousands of people on food stamps in the United States Pacific territories will receive their February benefits despite the shutdown.

But it's unclear whether those on the federally-funded nutrition programme known as SNAP will continue to receive the assistance if the shutdown continues.

Latest figures show about 45 thousand people in Guam are on the programme.

The US Department of Agriculture has sought this week to assure states and SNAP recipients that next month's benefits would be provided.

It says January's assistance has already been distributed.

The department says states have until January 20 to request and implement the February benefits.

When USDA's funding expired on December 21, 2018, SNAP benefits for January were fully funded, the department said in a statement.

"States have already received that money and have been distributing it to participants. Since the lapse in appropriations, USDA has been reviewing options available to the department for funding February benefits without an additional appropriation from Congress."

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