A government shutdown Oct. 1 could immediately suspend or delay food stamp payments to some of the 46 million Americans who receive the food aid.

The Agriculture Department said that it will stop providing benefits within the first several days of October, if Congress does not pass legislation to keep government agencies open.

Democratic lawmakers said USDA does not have enough money in reserve to pay a full month's benefits and a partial government shutdown would affect recipients in states that pay out their benefits at the first of the month.

Congressional Republicans are trying to avert a government shutdown next week when the budget year ends.