West-central Missouri Congressman Emanuel Cleaver fears the worst at the end of the month. “We are on the verge of a government shutdown over ideology,” he says. Cleaver says Republican demands that $40-million be cut out of the food stamp program and that Obamacare be de-funded threaten to lead to a budget deadlock that could stop a large number of government programs October first, the start of a new fiscal year.
He says myths about the food stamp program “turns my stomach.” He says he’s tired of hearing “lies” about the food stamp program. Cleaver says 70-% of those receiving help through the SNAP program are elderly, the disabled, and children with another 25% being the working poor who “cannot make enough to survive.”
He says he’s insulted by the “nasty and irreverent comments” spread “to the point of absurdity” around the country, even by some members of Congress. He says the comments are particular offensive to him because he knows what it means to be poor–that his home did not have electric lights or running water until he was seven years old.
Cleaver, who represents Kansas City and some counties in west-central Missouri, remembers the last shutdown, in 19-95. He was the Mayor of Kansas City then. “The impact was herculean not just here in Washington but around the country and around the world,” he says.
He says a shutdown will send the wrong message to the rest of the world. Cleaver, speaking on the House floor today, says “We’re close to declaring to the whole world that we don’t pay our bills.”
Cleaver says it will be a “sad day” if Congress deadlocks on a budget because of ideology.