46 million Americans could be without food stamps at the beginning of the month if Congress doesn't pass legislation to keep government agencies open.

The Agriculture Department may be forced to delay or suspend benefits if there's a government shutdown October 1st.

USDA spokeswoman Catherine Cochran tells the Associated Press, "If Congress does not act to avert a lapse in appropriations, then USDA will not have the funding necessary for SNAP benefits in October and will be forced to stop providing benefits within the first several days of October. Once that occurs, families won't be able to use these benefits at grocery stores to buy the food their families need."

The budget year ends October 1st and there is not enough money for the USDA to cover benefits for the month. A temporary funding bill is needed to keep agencies running.

Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan says "It's a cash flow issue at this point that will be even worse if there is an actual shutdown."

The holdout in Congress is a fight over Planned Parenthood funding.

Benefits and services that may also be affected if Congress shuts down:

*RECREATION - National parks, the Smithsonian museums, the National Zoo in Washington would likely close
*MILITARY - The military’s 1.4 million active duty personnel would stay on duty, but their paychecks could be delayed
*VETERANS SERVICES - Most services offered through the Department of Veterans Affairs continue because lawmakers approve money one year in advance for the VA’s health programs.
*MAIL - Deliveries would continue because the U.S. Postal Service receives no tax dollars for day-to-day operations, so you'll still receive your bills


MORE: Why Utica is a Great Place to Live

Follow Polly on Facebook