LA seniors could lose meal services due to government shutdown

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LOS ANGELES (CNS) – Meals services and other resources for Los Angeles’ senior citizens would lose funding if the government shutdown continues beyond November, officials said today.

The city’s Department of Aging runs multipurpose senior centers around the city and only have enough money to get through another two months, city administrators told members of the Los Angeles City Council.

Nonprofits contracted by the Housing and Community Investment Department and the Economic and Workforce Investment Department also would not be paid, they said

The country is four days into a partial government shutdown that started after members of Congress could not agree on a routine appropriations resolution.

City Legislative Analyst Gerry Miller observed that as of today, there “appears to be no deal in sight” among Congressional lawmakers.

“At the moment there is no direct budgetary impact, but it really depends on how long the shutdown lasts,” he said.

If the shutdown drags on, some city services would indeed lose out on federal funding, he said.

Later this month, Congress is also expected to debate about the debt ceiling. A stalemate over whether to raise the credit borrowing limit so the federal government can pay its bills would compound the impacts of the shutdown and prove disastrous for the U.S. economy, Miller said.

The state Economic Development Department estimates more than 40,000 people in Los Angeles are employed by the federal government, though it is unclear how many of them are furloughed.

Some of those federal workers are employed at economically sensitive sectors, including the ports and at the Small Business Administration, which gives out business loans, Miller said.

The City Council also approved a resolution calling on Congress to approve a “clean” appropriations bill.

A number of Democratic lawmakers contend an extreme faction of House Republicans have been inserting polarizing issues into the routine bill, such as measures to strip funding from the 2010 Affordable Care Act law — which went into effect Oct. 1 — and a “conscience clause” that would allow employers to deny health care coverage for services they find morally or religiously offensive, such as birth control.

“We are not going to allow tyranny of the minority. We won’t stand for it,” said City Councilman Bob Blumenfield, who introduced the resolution.

City Councilman Paul Koretz offered what he called a more “cynical” perspective on the shutdown, saying opposition to the Affordable Care Act was merely a pretense to bring down the country’s system of government. The effort reflects “the Tea Party at its worst,” he said.

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