Assembly Human Services Chair Joann Downey Condemns Proposed Cuts to SNAP Benefits

OCEAN TOWNSHIP - Assembly Human Services Chair Joann Downey (D-Freehold) released the following statement in response to a proposal by the Trump administration to cut benefits to needy households under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Under the proposed rule, states would not be permitted to expand access to SNAP benefits by raising or eliminating income and asset limits, an options used by forty states and Washington D.C. to expand access for households with high expenses.

“This proposal is a horrific attack on some of our nation’s most vulnerable households,” said Downey, who oversees legislation related to New Jersey’s SNAP program as Assembly Chair of Human Services. “The SNAP program is an essential support system for working low-income families who face incredibly high expenses in areas including child care, housing. and healthcare. When states have the freedom to tailor the program to suit their own needs, SNAP benefits are provided more efficiently and more effectively by the states than under a ‘one-size-fits-all’ program directed by the federal government.

“Not only would this proposed rule fail to realize any savings due to lost productivity and reduced business in low-income communities, it would also deal a chilling and long-term blow to families whose children would be unable to afford day-to-day expenses, including something as basic as putting food on the table. The administration must withdraw this proposal immediately and refocus its efforts on helping struggling families succeed.”

“Not only is this proposed rule counterproductive and actively harmful to low-income families, it would also hurt rural communities and the American farmers that grow our food,” said Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling (D-Neptune), who serves alongside Assemblywoman Downey and serves as Chair of the Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. “Without SNAP, low-income households will be unable to purchase locally-grown produce, meats, and dairy, reducing the income of New Jersey farms and preventing children from obtaining fresh and nutritious food. The administration must make clear that this proposed rule is off the table.”

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