A Shutdown Update

As reported by Minnesota Public Radio News, The federal government shutdown that has idled hundreds of thousands of workers is starting to ripple through states, which are now laying off employees and warning of thousands of additional furloughs if the budget stalemate is not resolved soon.  However, some states, such as Maryland, have avoided furloughs,

Some states have avoided furloughs by tapping into accumulated federal funds while others are dipping into state coffers.

Maryland has continued to pay 11,000 employees because the Legislature set aside $100 million to plug holes created by federal budget battles. Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback dipped into cash reserves to avoid 119 furloughs and reinstate dozens of others in an office that handles unemployment benefits.

The article describes the effect of cuts to state-administered federal programs and warns of additional cuts if the shutdown continues.

Medicaid, the biggest federally funded state program, has remained exempt from the cutbacks. But federal officials have said other big state-administered programs – like food aid for low-income families – may have only enough money to make it through October.

For more information, see the full story from MPR News.

Meanwhile, the Washington Post reports that the budget impasse may be nearing its end. The Post’s live update blog states that today “negotiations to end the U.S. government shutdown were moving in fits and starts as the political debate pivots to the debt ceiling limit and whether or not the government will run out of money to pay its bills by October 17.”

As the Senate convened for the day, Majority Leader Harry M. Reid said on the floor that he was “very optimistic” about what he called the “constructive, good-faith negotiations” aimed at avoiding the nation’s first default on its debt.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said he expected that “we’re going to get a result that will be acceptable to both sides.”

For more information, see the full story from the Post, or these live updates on budget negotiations.