WNCN.com: Rep. Price calls out McCrory on suspension of Work First program
By WNCN Staff
RALEIGH, N.C. - North Carolina was the only state to cut off welfare benefits to poor residents during the 16-day partial federal shutdown, and Congressman David Price wants to know why.
The state said it suspended processing Work First applications because there wasn't enough assurance the federal government would reimburse the state for payments once the shutdown ends.
However Price (D-NC) said the state's skepticism raised red flags.
"They said, 'Well we don't believe this,'" Price said of the McCrory administration. "Why wouldn't they believe them? Forty-nine other states did believe them. It's almost as though they were too ready or almost looking for an excuse to cut off these needy people."
North Carolina and other states received letters saying they could choose to spend state funds in the meantime and hope Congress would reimburse when the block funding through TANF was restored. But the letter's language was too tentative for DHHS officials to justify spending state funds.
After the administration announced the suspension of the program, U.S. Reps. Price, G.K. Butterfield and Mel Watt, wrote to Gov. Pat McCrory asking him to reverse course on the program, usually paid with federal block funds that weren't reauthorized Oct. 1.
In response to the lawmakers, McCrory said he made the decision because Congress "had not authorized or provided federal funds needed for [Temporary Assistance for Needy Families] via a new budget or a continuing resolution prior to the federal deadline of Oct. 1."
"Governors cannot spend money we do not have," McCrory said.
Price said North Carolina needs a plan in place to take care of the needy in the event the government shutsdown again in January.