Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said he has a “hunch” that Congress will avoid defaulting on debt, but he’s not sure they will re-open government.
Since Oct. 1 the state has spent less than $900,000 on programs affected by the shutdown. Most of that money went to keep the Bridgeport Head Start program open. He said he hopes the federal government will reimburse the state after it reaches a deal, but as of Tuesday no deal had been reached.
“We do not have unlimited amounts of money,” Malloy said Tuesday at a press conference..
He said his administration is still accessing the situation and is concerned about programs such as the Women, Infants, and Children’s program and disabled veterans who are relying on benefits to support themselves and their families. As of Nov. 1, funding for disabled veterans will cease and other Head Start programs could fall into a similar situation as Bridgeport.
“We cannot have pregnant women go without nourishment,” Malloy stressed Tuesday. “We cannot have young children go without nourishment. That’s a reality.”
It’s those “life-sustaining” services that Malloy is focused on if the state does have to step in and offer help to those used to relying on the federal government for benefits.
“I think we’ll be talking about a plan in the coming days,” Malloy said. “It appears to me if I had to bet that they’re not going to re-open the government soon.”
The Democratic governor had some harsh words for the Tea Party.
“The Republican Party has been hijacked by a hyper-political group of people who are more than willing to cut off your nose despite your face,” Malloy said.
At the moment, he said there are no plans to borrow any money to cover any funding shortages caused by the shutdown.
State Treasurer Denise Nappier told lawmakers on Oct. 1 that the state has not used the $300 million line of credit the governor authorized last year.
“Depending on the scope and length of the federal fiscal impasse, there could be an adverse impact on the state’s cash flow,” Nappier wrote. “We do not, however, currently foresee any immediate significant cash flow issues with a short-term delay in resolving the issue.”
She said she plans to “let the line of credit expire in December of 2013 given the strength of the state’s current and projected cash positions.”