New Jersey lawmakers want to extend more help to thousands of families struggling to make ends meet.
Assemblywoman Gabriela Mosquera says former Governor Chris Christie vetoed efforts by Democrats to boost the energy assistance payment that would help about 180,000 families qualify for more nutritional assistance.
"They have lost $90 per month in food benefits. This translates to a loss of 64 meals a month."
Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin says one of his priorities is getting legislation enacted to provide a $21 annual energy assistance payment to households that receive benefits under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance program.
He says that payment would allow those families to get a heating and cooling allowance that qualifies them to receive additional nutritional assistance.
"Helping families with energy and nutritional assistance payments is a must. And it's the right approach both socially and fiscally."
Assemblywoman Shavonda Sumter says increasing the so-called heat-and-eat assistance payments is an important part of the state’s goal of ending hunger.
“It is what needs to be done to help families working hard to make ends meet, to help the most vulnerable residents, our seniors, our disabled, and those who rely on programs each month to just get by.”