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Walz, Flanagan Announce Plan to Protect Minnesotans Amid Federal Shutdown

As Federal Shutdown Continues, Governor Announces Plan to Mitigate Impact on Minnesota Communities

1/15/2019 1:08:27 PM

Please find an audio copy of the press conference here:

[ST. PAUL, MN] – Governor Tim Walz and Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan today announced the Administration’s plan to minimize the impact of the federal government shutdown on Minnesotans.

“The current federal government shutdown is the longest closure in our nation’s history and the impacts are being felt here in Minnesota,” said Governor Walz. “The dysfunction in Washington must be met with deliberate and thoughtful leadership in Minnesota. Our plan will help mitigate the negative effects of the shutdown on communities across our state and protect the critical services Minnesotans need to support their families. If Washington won’t lead, Minnesota will.”

“Growing up, it was services like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Medicaid that helped my family get ahead when we needed a helping hand. I know all too well how important it is that Minnesotans continue to receive the support they need,” said Lieutenant Governor Flanagan. “As the federal shutdown continues, we must take action to ensure Minnesotans have what they need to take care of their families and lead healthy lives.”

“The State of Minnesota has been providing funding for the costs of some federal government programs to prevent a disruption in service to Minnesotans. But we are now in the longest shutdown in U.S. history and I am concerned federal reimbursements are at risk the longer this shutdown continues,” said Myron Frans, commissioner of Minnesota Management and Budget.

“People have every reason to rely on the promises the federal government has made. We are busy exploring the remedies available to us to make sure these promises are kept and the federal government meets its obligations to the people of Minnesota,” said Keith Ellison, Attorney General of Minnesota. “We are working to ensure that every single penny that Minnesotans have a reason to expect, they will get.”

“I am pleased whenever Minnesotans step forward in defense of life and human dignity. I hope officials here can model an effective, collaborative approach to governance and human services that transcends partisanship, especially to address a situation that threatens the well-being of our most vulnerable sisters and brothers," said Archbishop Bernard Hebda from the Archdiocese of Saint Paul & Minneapolis.

“It is our responsibility as faith leaders and community members to help our neighbors when they are in need,” said Imam Asad Zaman from the Muslim American Society of Minnesota. “Faith leaders stand in solidarity with Governor Walz and Lieutenant Governor Flanagan in their call to action. It is with strong government leadership that we can help protect our most vulnerable citizens.”

The Administration’s Action Plan

  • Federal grants help fund critical services in Minnesota. This includes support for Medicaid, highways, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Veterans Healthcare, and Food Security programs such as SNAP and school lunch. Governor Walz has directed Minnesota Management and Budget to explore how to cover federal funds unavailable because of the shutdown.
  • The United States Department of Agriculture has issued a one-month extension of SNAP payments. However, the benefits for February will be loaded onto recipients’ cards around January 20. Many may not know the reason for this change or that those benefits will need to last until the end of February. Governor Walz has directed the Department of Human Services to help ensure Minnesotans are informed about any changes to their SNAP food benefits.
  • Tribal communities have been disproportionately impacted by the federal shutdown. Tribes are experiencing immediate budgetary cuts to tribal government and to Indian Health Service offices. Indian Health Services has had to furlough staff. With many tribal members receiving their health care and other critical services through the federal government, the shutdown’s ripple effect is particularly large in Native communities. The Administration has begun consultation with tribes to understand the impact of the shutdown on our sovereign nations and see how the state can help provide assistance.
  • Governor Walz is working closely with Minnesota’s Congressional Delegation to support Minnesotans adversely affected by the shutdown and coordinate with governors across the country to join together in action on behalf of states.
  • It is critical to hold the federal government accountable for reimbursing Minnesota for the actions taken to ensure the state continues to run smoothly amid the shutdown. Governor Walz is committed to working with state legislators to include language in necessary appropriation bills to affirm that the federal government will reimburse states.
  • The Administration will work with the Attorney General’s office to navigate legal issues to ensure that Minnesotans are protected from the consequences of the federal shutdown. Governor Walz has directed his General Counsel to engage with the Attorney General and Minnesota Management and Budget to analyze legal remedies against the federal government if there is any failure to reimburse the state of Minnesota.
  • As the shutdown continues, the action plan announced today will need to be assessed on an ongoing basis. Governor Walz has assigned staff from his office to participate in the Statewide Contingency Response Team, which will continue to monitor the impacts of the shutdown and reevaluate our response.
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