Bill Text: NJ SJR73 | 2018-2019 | Regular Session | Introduced


Bill Title: Urges U.S. Congress to pass "Military Hunger Prevention Act."

Spectrum: Slight Partisan Bill (Democrat 3-1)

Status: (Engrossed) 2018-10-15 - Received in the Assembly, Referred to Assembly Military and Veterans' Affairs Committee [SJR73 Detail]

Download: New_Jersey-2018-SJR73-Introduced.html

SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION

No. 73

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

218th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED MAY 10, 2018

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  TROY SINGLETON

District 7 (Burlington)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Urges U.S. Congress to pass "Military Hunger Prevention Act."

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


A Joint Resolution respectfully urging the Congress of the United States to pass the "Military Hunger Prevention Act."

 

Whereas, The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the Food Stamp Program,  provides assistance to eligible low-income individuals and families to buy healthy, nutritious food at a network of participating stores and farmer's markets, and is the country's most important anti-hunger program; and

Whereas, The federal government pays for the cost of SNAP benefits and the program's eligibility rules are primarily set at the federal level, while the costs of administering the program are shared between the federal government and the states; and

Whereas, In a typical month in 2017, the SNAP program helped more than 40 million low-income Americans afford a nutritionally adequate diet; and

Whereas, Most recipients of SNAP who are able to work are working while receiving benefits, which demonstrates the need of many working families, including those with a member in the armed forces, for assistance, particularly during economic downturns; and

Whereas, In 2015, more than $80 million in SNAP benefits were used to buy food at military commissaries; and many military installations have food pantries or food banks that provide food to military families who are in need; and

Whereas, According to the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey,  two percent of active duty military families, or approximately 23,000 families, received SNAP benefits from 2009 to 2012, and six percent of respondents of the Blue Star Family Lifestyle Survey reported using emergency food relief in 2017; and

Whereas, Military families that  do not reside on a military base or installation receive a Basic Housing Allowance (BAH), which is meant to offset the cost of civilian housing for those who do not reside in government-provided housing, and the rate of the BAH depends on  location, pay grade, and number of dependents of the service member; and

Whereas, Although the BAH is intended to offset the cost of civilian  housing for servicemen and women who do not live on a military base, the amount of the BAH is currently considered as income for purposes of determining eligibility for SNAP, and certain other benefits, pursuant to federal law; and 

Whereas, The "Military Hunger Prevention Act," currently pending in Congress as H.R. 1078 and S. 2488,  would amend federal law to exclude the BAH when determining eligibility for certain federal benefits, including SNAP; and

Whereas, Among the many economic challenges faced by members of the military are: relatively low pay compared to non-military occupations; infrequent and insufficient pay raises; frequent transfers or deployments, particularly when the transfer is to a region of the country with a comparatively high cost of living; and the difficulty of spouses to find well-paying, long-term employment due to those transfers and deployments; and

Whereas, In order that members of the armed services and their families, who make considerable personal sacrifices to protect and serve the United States, have sufficient and nutritious food on their tables, it is fitting and proper that the law be amended to exclude the BHA from income for purposes of determining eligibility for SNAP and other federal programs; now, therefore,

 

     Be It Resolved by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    The Legislature and Governor of New Jersey respectfully urge the Congress of the United States to enact the "Military Hunger Prevention Act," currently pending in both houses of Congress, so that those members of the armed forces who make considerable sacrifices in order to serve our country, yet face hunger or require assistance, are able to benefit from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and other benefits, notwithstanding their receipt of a Basic Housing Allowance.

 

     2.    Copies of this resolution, as filed with the Secretary of State, shall be transmitted by the Clerk of the General Assembly or the Secretary of the Senate to the Majority and Minority Leaders of the United States Senate, the Speaker and Minority Leader of the United States House of Representatives, and every member of Congress elected from this State.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This resolution respectfully urges the Congress of the United States to enact the "Military Hunger Prevention Act," currently pending in both houses of Congress, so that those members of the armed forces who make considerable sacrifices in order to serve our country, yet face hunger or require assistance are able to benefit from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and other benefits, notwithstanding their receipt of a Basic Housing Allowance.

     The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the Food Stamp Program, provides assistance to eligible low-income individuals and families to help them buy healthy, nutritious food at a network of participating stores and farmer's markets, and is the country's most important anti-hunger program. In 2015, more than $80 million in SNAP benefits were used to buy food at military commissaries, and many military installations have food pantries or food banks that provide food to military families who are in need.  Military families that do not reside on a military base or installation receive a Basic Housing Allowance (BAH), which is meant to offset the cost of civilian housing, and the rate of the BAH depends on location, pay grade, and number of dependents of the service member. The "Military Hunger Prevention Act," currently pending in Congress as H.R. 1078 and S. 2488, would amend federal law to exclude the BAH when determining eligibility for certain federal benefits, including SNAP.

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