A Government Shutdown Could Be Devastating for Arkansas

A Government Shutdown Could Be Devastating for Arkansas

Lawmakers have until midnight Monday to come up with a spending deal.
LITTLE ROCK, AR -- The federal government could shut down for the first time in 17 years if lawmakers don't reach a spending deal by midnight Monday, which could be a devastating blow to Arkansas.

Richard Weiss, Director of the Department of Finance and Administration (DFA) for the state of Arkansas, sent a memo to employees on Friday saying they'll be paid for working Monday, but Tuesday is still up in the air.

"So we will undoubtedly have to shut all of the local offices down, so you have not only employees being laid off, but you have citizens that can't actually service us," Weiss said.

If there is a shutdown, one of the hardest hit departments in Arkansas would be the Department of Human Services (DHS), who could see as many as 900 employees furloughed, DHS spokesperson Amy Webb says.

"Several hundred child abuse investigators and foster care workers would be impacted," Webb said.

Another program that could be impacted would be food stamp services.

But for now, everything is in limbo.

"Really we're just sitting there hanging like everybody else, figuring out what on earth these people are going to do," Weiss said.

Although DHS is just one of many departments that would be affected by a government shutdown, automatically-funded federal programs like Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security shouldn't be impacted as much.

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*Note: After this story aired, KARK 4 News learned that SNAP benefits would NOT be affected by a government shutdown.
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