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The Government Shutdown Won’t Threaten February Food Stamps After All

Amid the ongoing government shutdown, the Trump administration assuaged fears around funding for food stamps on Tuesday, promising that the Agriculture Department would be able to continue to provide the service to low-income Americans for the month of February.

Officials had earlier warned that funding for the program would run out in January, which could have negatively impacted the 38 million Americans who rely on food stamps. But on Tuesday, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced that states will be given the money for February’s food stamps by Jan. 20.

The department will make use of a provision in the last spending bill passed on Dec. 21 that will allow it to make previously planned payments within 30 days of the law’s expiration. As such, February benefits will be provided by Jan. 20 to remain within that deadline.

By making use of the provision, the department will not have to dip into a reserve fund as previously feared to provide the benefits while the shutdown continues. Nevertheless, officials will not be able to rely on the same provision for March and are therefore planning to look into alternative options should the shutdown drag out further.