Government shutdown looms: Important programs, from FEMA to SNAP, at risk

Local News

NEW YORK — As a shutdown of the federal government nears, many in New York and New Jersey are expressing concerns about what that might mean regarding access to FEMA disaster aid, SNAP food benefits and more.

Congress has until Thursday at 11:59 p.m. to come to a government spending agreement that would avert a shutdown.

In the meantime, people like Queens resident Edwin Ortiz are focused on continued recovery efforts after Ida’s historic flooding and storm damage.

“We lost everything, everything, everything,” he said. 

Ortiz’s entire basement apartment flooded during the storm. 

He was among the many residents at the disaster recovery center set up at Queens College — just the beginning of a process to apply for help from FEMA.

“We have to wait, I don’t know what will happen,” he said.

It is a wait that may become tied up in the battle over funding the federal government, including money for hurricane relief.

If funding is not passed by Thursday, a government shutdown would make administering FEMA aid to the flood-battered tri-state area more challenging.

Already backed up immigration courts would shutter once again, as they did during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Air travel would continue, but workers might not get paid, which could lead to mass callouts — a possible repeat of what happened during the last shutdown just over two years ago.

Other essential government programs such as SNAP food assistance benefits might be in jeopardy if the shutdown drags on.

All of this as Republicans and Democrats continued to point fingers on Tuesday.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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