Arizona Governor Jan Brewer ordered welfare officials to use state funds to restore assistance to thousands of families who lost the aid because of the partial shutdown of the U.S. government last week.   Arizona’s Economic Security Department stopped providing cash under the federally funded Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program on Oct. 3.   Arizona was one of the first states to halt payments last week due to lack of funds, due to the shutdown of the Federal government. This lack of funds affected about 3,200 families.

Brewer, a 69-year-old Republican who earlier this year tangled with her party over her decision to expand Arizona’s Medicaid program for the poor, yesterday ordered that $650,000 from the economic agency’s budget be redirected to keep the aid flowing through Oct. 31.

“The failure of leadership in Washington is placing a heavy burden on our state, our core services and our citizens most in need,” Brewer said in a statement.  “It’s well past time that President Obama begins to negotiate with both parties in Congress in order to resolve the budget impasse.”

Democratic state lawmakers and advocates for the poor had called for Brewer to act after the funds ran out following the October 1st, start of the federal fiscal year.  The Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives and the Democratic-run Senate haven’t been able to agree on spending bills.

About 16,500 families with more than 27,500 children received benefits under the program as of August.  Payments averaged $202 a month.  About 13,300 participants, or 80 percent, had received benefits Oct. 1 and Oct. 2, before federal monies dried up.   This resulted in 3200 families having no benefits.

The U.S. Health and Human Services Department’s Family Assistance Office told states in a September 30th letter that, if they cover the payments with state money, they will be reimbursed once Congress passes legislation to extend funding.

Most states use a combination of federal and state funds for their cash assistance program.

Arizona was one of 11 states that used only federal money for its aid program last year. Other states facing shortfalls in their TANF funds are New Mexico, South Carolina, and Rhode Island; where they have only enough funds for a few more weeks of benefits.

As the shutdown continues, those states will have to assess their ability to make payments and more families around the country may see benefits stopped.   “Our TANF families are the poorest of the poor.  Brewer also warned that other programs affecting tens of thousands of Arizonans are in jeopardy if the federal deadlock doesn’t end by November, including childcare subsidies and food stamps, under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

Now for those political minded people who venomously oppose any kind of welfare, these people who are on TANF are primarily your poor elderly citizens, your highly disabled citizens, and your children, who live below the poverty level.  So, we either take care of this segment of our population or they will literally starve.  How anyone who calls themselves a Christian and in the same breath oppose all welfare, in society is offensive.  Remember…there but for the grace of God, go I.

Now, to help solve some of this nation’s problems, I purpose to support three ideas.  I cannot take credit for these ideas, but I support them.

The first is to immediately stop all aid to all foreign countries except for our neighbors, Canada and Mexico.  We can use these monies to take care of our poor, our disabled, and our elderly.  We can also pay down our Federal debt and still help improve our economy.

The second is to bring all our military troops home immediately, close all foreign military bases around the world, and bring all military equipment back with us.  The buildings and that which cannot be dismantled and moved will be destroyed and we will leave nothing for the host nations.

Thirdly, to settle this do nothing leadership in Washington, I purpose that we recall all 435 members of Congress immediately.  We then hold a nation lottery for those people who wish to serve this nation, whose aim is to pass laws that bring improvement and not impasse.  They would not be aligned with any political party, but rather, make laws for the American people.  Any members of this New Congress who expressed any political ideas would face impeachment procedures and if removed, who would then be replaced by lottery.  You could only serve a term of 6 years maximum and then you would be replaced.  Each state would be represented by two Senators and 6 Representatives chosen from their residents who apply to run and the remaining 35 would be chosen at large.  No current member of Congress would be allowed to apply for office.  Thus, we eliminate Congress as a career and we eliminate costly elections, where millionaires become billionaires.  The only benefits allowed for members of this New Congress would be a livable salary for Washington, D.C. and health insurance only while in office.  No laws would be allowed that benefit or enrich members of Congress.  For the first time, we would have a Congress of the people and for the people.