NJ lawmakers oppose food cuts

Several New Jersey lawmakers sent a letter to Department of Agriculture opposing harmful restrictions to SNAP.

U.S. Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Bob Menendez (D-NJ), along with Reps. Donald Norcross (NJ-01), Andy Kim (NJ-03), Josh Gottheimer (NJ-05), Frank Pallone (NJ-06), Tom Malinowski (NJ-07), Albio Sires (NJ-08), Bill Pascrell, Jr. (NJ-09), Donald M. Payne, Jr. (NJ-10), Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11), and Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ -12) yesterday urged U.S. Department of Agriculture to withdraw a recent proposal to restrict benefits under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

This proposed rule would end the practice of allowing low-income, working people whose gross incomes are slightly higher than the poverty level to qualify for benefits through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as food stamps.

This would affect an estimated 68,000 New Jersey residents, including 26,000 children, 15,000 residents over age 60 and 27,000 people between the ages of 18 and 59, according to the New Jersey Department of Human Services.

Many of the children affected could also lose access to free school meals, as many are directly qualified to receive meals through the SNAP application process. Once they no longer qualify for SNAP, the free meals could also be cut, putting their health and learning at risk.

In a letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, head of the USDA, the lawmakers wrote:

“If this administration chooses to enact this policy, tens of thousands of New Jerseyans will be forced to make the unwelcome choice between saving for the future and feeding their families today.

“The proposed rule runs counter to the intent of Congress to provide nutrition assistance to those in need. In fact, the most recent bipartisan Farm Bill passed by an overwhelming majority in both chambers of Congress and rejected attempts by the Administration to undermine the program.

“As such, we urge you to reconsider and rescind this current proposal.”

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