Kenyatta sponsors resolution urging end of federal shutdown

HARRISBURG, Jan. 23 – State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., sponsored a resolution directed at the president and Congress urging them to put an end to the partial federal government shutdown.

“It is unacceptable that hardworking Pennsylvanians across the commonwealth are experiencing significant hardships due to what has become the longest federal government shutdown in American history,” Kenyatta said. “Pennsylvanians and the American people deserve better. While those of us in state government cannot reopen the federal government, we must speak with one voice about the pain it’s inflicting on our state. Federal workers deserve to get paid, get back to work, and those on SNAP benefits should not have to worry if they will be able to afford their food. This must end!”

Currently, Pennsylvania ranks ninth among the states hit hardest by the shutdown based on loss of salaries from federal workers and a loss of income substitution provided through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly referred to as SNAP.

Nearly 13,000 of the state’s federal workers have not received a paycheck in the past month. Those deemed as “essential” work without pay, while many others remain furloughed. The Pennsylvania Office of Unemployment Compensation has seen an increase of nearly 850 percent in applications for unemployment benefits in the last week of December as compared to that same week last year.

About 1.8 million Pennsylvanians rely on food benefits provided through SNAP. Although the U.S. Department of Agriculture was able to find a loophole to provide February benefits early, many worry about what will happen if the shutdown persists.

Read the co-sponsorship memo here.