The Shutdown's Impact on Blacks

The government shutdown will head into its second week after another day of rancorous debate on Capitol Hill.

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Head Start participants outside Capitol, Oct. 2, 2013, protest government shutdown. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Updated Oct. 5, 10:40 p.m. EDT: During a rare Saturday session, Democratic and Republican lawmakers from the House and Senate continued to condemn each other for keeping the federal government in a partial shutdown.

The impasse remained even after the House passed a measure to give furloughed federal workers back pay after the shutdown ends. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) slammed the Republican-led House for passing the bill, by a vote of 407-0, instead of working to reopen the government.

As the shutdown persists, the Pentagon annnounced Saturday that it would recall all of its 350,000 furloughed civilian workers. 

To be sure, Sunday will be a day of finger-pointing as lawmakers hit the media circuit to tell the public just who is responsible for the continuation of the shutdown.

Updated Oct. 5, 12:15 p.m. EDT: The House unanimously passed a measure that will allow back pay to workers furloughed during the partial shutdown of the federal government, but the stalemate continues. 

Updated Oct. 4, 12 p.m. EDT: According to data from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (pdf), as of the fourth quarter of the 2012 fiscal year, blacks made up just over 18 percent of nonseasonal full-time permanent employees in the federal government. It's unclear how many black federal employees (about 300,000 people) are among those furloughed, but they, too, are sure to be struggling to figure out what to do without being able to count on the next paycheck.  

Earlier:

(The Root) -- One of the creeping effects of a government shutdown -- the kind that deals a soft punch at first before the full force of the problem hits like a freight train -- is the closing of Head Start programs. 

Of the approximately 1,600 programs in the country that are dedicated to offering nutritional, heath, social and other services to low-income families, about 20 programs will be affected immediately because their federal grants ran out Oct. 1 and will not be renewed without a new budget. On Friday, Head Start prekindergarten classes for 864 students in York County, S.C., will be canceled. As the shutdown drags on indefinitely, more and more programs could be at risk as their grants run out. 

This puts African-American children disproportionately at risk. According to the 2012 Program Facts from the Head Start program, 29 percent of the women and children enrolled in 2011-2012 were black, and almost 50 percent of children in the program were 4 years old.

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