Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin (D-Middlesex) issued the following statement on the proposed federal changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program:
“One in ten children in New Jersey suffer from hunger. One in ten. Unfortunately, we will only see this number worsen under the proposed federal changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Requirements (SNAP) if enacted.
“Of the nationally 3.1 million people that could be affected by SNAP cuts, 26,000 thousand are children. We have school districts in New Jersey where well over fifty percent of their student population receives a free or reduced meal. It’s not because they are getting over on the system. It’s because they are hungry and their participation in the breakfast or lunch program guarantees them at least two meals a day.
“The teachers will most likely see the direct effects of SNAP cuts first in their students’ eyes and hear it through their grumbling stomachs. We’ll also see more families in food pantry lines if we continue down the path to adopting these proposals. It’s illogical to not consider how families will get by without access to SNAP benefits.
“The focus should be on helping more families and feeding more children. However, it is painstakingly apparent that this is not the focus in Washington. Maybe a fine-tuning of the program’s requirements are in order; however, haphazardly “closing loopholes” without regard to the families who rely on SNAP will only exacerbate the hunger crisis in America. What are we doing and where are we going as a nation if we are proposing changes that drop families from the services they need without providing them recourse.”