Jan 9, 2019

Trump administration pushes shutdown food stamp crisis back a month

Photo: Bill Pierce/The LIFE Images Collection via Getty Images

The Department of Agriculture announced Tuesday that it has found a way to continuing providing food stamps to millions of Americans during the month of February, despite the government shutdown.

Why it matters: As Axios reported earlier, White House officials are increasingly concerned about the impending effects of the shutdown on taxpayers and federal workers. One of those officials told us that the threat to food stamps was the issue that administration officials were most worried about.

Details: Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue told reporters that his department will rely on a provision from a continuing resolution that recently expired, which allows the federal government to make payments within 30 days after its expiration.

  • USDA will begin reaching out to states immediately to request that they allow early issuance of those benefits provided under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). States have until Jan. 20 to do this.
  • Perdue made clear that this option will only provide enough funds ($4.8 billion) to make it through February, and that he hopes that leaves enough time for the White House and Congress to cut a deal on a long-term funding bill and end this partial lapse in appropriations.

What's next: Trump will address the public from the Oval Office at 9 p.m. — Day 18 of the shutdown.

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UFC wants to host fight on tribal land to avoid coronavirus restrictions

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

In an attempt to skirt federal and state guidelines during the coronavirus pandemic, the UFC plans to hold its April 18 pay-per-view event on tribal land in California, per multiple reports.

The state of play: Even as the rest of the sports world hits pause, UFC president Dana White has remained adamant that fights must go on, and appears to have settled for a shutdown casino in a state with the fourth-most confirmed cases of coronavirus.

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Ivanka Trump plans focus on coronavirus recovery for small businesses

Ivanka Trump speaks at yesterday's White House videoconference with bank and credit card executives. Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Ivanka Trump personally lobbied top bank executives to line up the $1.5 billion in commitments to small business that were announced yesterday at a videoconference among the bank executives and President Trump — stoking competitive juices among the execs to drive up their commitments.

The state of play: Ivanka, who has had workforce development in her portfolio going back to 2017, plans an increasing emphasis on small businesses in the weeks ahead as they navigate the rescue bill’s Payroll Protection Program, sources tell me.

Public transit's death spiral

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Public transit systems across the country are experiencing a painful trifecta: Ridership has collapsed, funding streams are squeezed, and mass transit won't bounce back from the pandemic nearly as fast as other modes of transportation.

Why it matters: Transit agencies could see an annual shortfall of as much as $38 billion due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to TransitCenter. At the same time, they're more important than ever, with more than 36% of essential workers relying on public transportation to get to work.

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