Today, Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr. voted against the "Nutrition Reform and Work Opportunity Act," Republican legislation which cuts basic food aid (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program/SNAP) by nearly $40 billion, kicking nearly 4 million Americans off the program next year. The measure passed by a vote of 217 to 210.
"Today, I stood up for the hungry people across America, including the one million people on SNAP here in New Jersey," Rep. Payne, Jr. said. "It's completely unconscionable that Republicans would propose cutting SNAP by nearly $40 billion when 1 in 4 children in this country go to bed hungry. These draconian cuts will take the food out the mouths of nearly 4 million Americans next year alone, hurting children, seniors, and veterans the most."
"SNAP is a vital tool to fight hunger and help struggling Americans feed their families as they seek new employment, send their children to school, and get themselves back on their feet. More than 90 percent of people on SNAP are children, the elderly, disabled, or already working, but still struggle to put food on the table since SNAP benefits amount to only $1.50 per meal here in New Jersey," Rep. Payne, Jr. continued.
The bill contains a number of provisions that ignore the reality that nearly 400,000 New Jerseyans continue to struggle with unemployment. For example, the bill would end governors' ability to waive SNAP's harsh time limit for people looking for work in time of high unemployment. Further, the House bill will cut school lunches for over 200,000 children and eliminate food assistance for 170,000 veterans.
"Members of Congress who voted for this bill need to re-examine their consciences because today's shameful vote for this bill was a vote against the 1 in 4 children who go hungry in this country and the millions more who could be lifted out of poverty with some basic nutrition assistance," Rep. Payne, Jr. concluded.