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Quijano Calls on Congress to Put Politics Aside and Restore Food Assistance Funding for America’s Neediest

(TRENTON) – Assemblywoman Annette Quijano on Friday called on Congress to reauthorize full funding for the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), underscoring the importance of this critical food assistance program for some of the nation’s poorest families.
Reauthorization of the program, traditionally included as part of the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act, has stalled as Republicans call for reductions in overall funding for the program.
“Since early 2008 when the economy began to collapse, the number of SNAP recipients has doubled, with one out of every 10 New Jerseyans now receiving this much-needed food assistance,” said Quijano (D-Union). “While this rate has begun to decline a little bit as the economy slowly rebounds, now is not the time to reduce funding for this critical program. Struggling families have already been forced to do more with less. Any reductions in this assistance might mean the difference between putting food on the table for their children or paying the rent.”
Quijano noted that a temporary boost in SNAP benefits that was enacted as part of the 2009 Recovery Act will expire on November 1, decreasing benefits for the average recipient by $20 to $25, with more to come if Congress slashes overall funding for the program. Nationally, about 50 million people receive SNAP benefits, some 40 percent of whom are children and about 8 percent seniors.
“With millions of people losing their jobs during the Great Recession, more and more were forced to turn to this program to adequately feed their families. The need is still greater than ever and this is not the time to cut funding for such a crucial safety net. I want to thank Congressmen Sires and Payne, in particular, for voting for an amendment to fully fund this program. Whether this will become part of the final product Congress approves remains to be seen, but I implore both houses to put politics aside and think about the real lives that hang in the balance – the women, children and seniors in particular who rely on this program to make ends meet,” added Quijano.