Bill Text: NJ SR123 | 2018-2019 | Regular Session | Introduced


Bill Title: Condemns ongoing federal government shutdown, and urges U.S. Congress and President to take immediate action to reopen government and provide funding for "Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program" and other similar programs.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 2-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2019-01-24 - Introduced in the Senate, Referred to Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee [SR123 Detail]

Download: New_Jersey-2018-SR123-Introduced.html

SENATE RESOLUTION No. 123

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

218th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED JANUARY 24, 2019

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  LINDA R. GREENSTEIN

District 14 (Mercer and Middlesex)

Senator  NILSA CRUZ-PEREZ

District 5 (Camden and Gloucester)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Condemns ongoing federal government shutdown, and urges U.S. Congress and President to take immediate action to reopen government and provide funding for "Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program" and other similar programs.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

 


A Senate Resolution condemning the current partial federal government shutdown, and urging the Congress and President of the United States to reopen government and fund the "Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program" and other similar programs.

 

Whereas, A partial shutdown of the federal government, affecting nine federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), was commenced at midnight on the morning of Saturday, December 22, 2018, and is presently ongoing; and

Whereas, The partial government shutdown is now ranked as the longest shutdown in American history; and

Whereas, Although the U.S. Senate, on December 18, 2018, unanimously passed, by voice vote, a continuing resolution that would have provided the short-term funding necessary to prevent the partial government shutdown, and although the incoming U.S. House of Representatives, on January 3, 2018, passed a similar short-term funding package, the President of the United States has refused to sign these short-term funding bills, and has indicated that he will be happy to continue the partial government shutdown for months, or even years, unless and until Congress appropriates more than $5 billion to fund the construction of a physical wall along the nation's southern border; and

Whereas, Although the partial government shutdown negatively affects all Americans, it particularly endangers the livelihoods of the nation's poorest and most vulnerable citizens; and

Whereas, Most significantly, because the USDA is affected by the shutdown, millions of America's poorest and most vulnerable citizens may be left to go hungry as the shutdown drags on; and

Whereas, As a result of the partial government shutdown, 95 percent of federal staff for the USDA's Food and Nutrition Services has been furloughed, federal funding is not available for food assistance programs, including the "Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for Women, Infants, and Children" (WIC), and the "Commodity Supplemental Food Program," and the nation's child nutrition assistance programs may cease to function when existing federal funds for those programs are exhausted in February; and

Whereas, The USDA is also warning that it may have to severely cut the nation's largest, and most important, food assistance program, known as the "Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program" (SNAP), as a result of this partial government shutdown; and

Whereas, In September 2018 alone, the most recent month for which USDA data is available, SNAP served more than 38.5 million Americans (nearly 12 percent of the total U.S. population) at an approximate cost $4.7 million; and

Whereas, Although current Congressional appropriations are sufficient to fund SNAP through January, commencing in February, the USDA will need to fund the program's operations by tapping into a $3 billion emergency fund, which is insufficient to cover even two-thirds of the anticipated program costs for February; and

Whereas, Unless the government reopens before the end of January, millions of Americans who live below the poverty line could be left in the lurch, and have their access to food reduced by February and eliminated by March; and

Whereas, With each passing day that the federal government remains shut down, the livelihoods of the poorest Americans will be endangered all the more, and the continuation of this shutdown beyond January 2019 will ensure that these vulnerable citizens, who already struggle to get by, will be forced to endure even greater difficulties in satisfying their basic human needs; now, therefore,

 

     Be It Resolved by the Senate of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    This House strongly urges the Congress and President of the United States to take any and all actions necessary to ensure the immediate reopening of the federal government and the allocation of the federal funding that is needed to ensure the continued and uninterrupted operations of the "Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program," as well as all other food and nutrition assistance programs that are operated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 

 

     2.    In the event that the President of the United States vetoes legislation to reopen the federal government and provide funding for the "Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program" and other food and nutrition assistance programs, this House strongly urges the U.S. Congress to use its constitutional authority to immediately override that veto, and thereby reopen the government and provide the necessary funding for these essential programs.

 

     3.    Copies of this resolution, as filed with the Secretary of State, shall be transmitted by the Clerk of the General Assembly to the President of the United States, the majority and minority leaders of the U.S. Senate, the majority and minority leaders of the U.S. House of Representatives, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and every member of Congress elected from this State.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This resolution would respectfully urge the Congress and President of the United States to end the partial shutdown of the federal government, which began at midnight on the morning of Saturday, December 22, 2018, and is presently ongoing; and to ensure the continuation of federal funding for the "Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program" (SNAP) and other food and nutrition assistance programs operated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). 

     Although the U.S. Senate, on December 18, 2018, unanimously passed, by voice vote, a continuing resolution that would have provided the short-term funding necessary to prevent the partial government shutdown, and although the incoming U.S. House of Representatives, on January 3, 2018, passed a similar short-term funding package, the President of the United States has, thus far, refused to sign these short-term funding bills, and has indicated that he will be happy to continue the partial government shutdown for months, or even years, unless and until Congress appropriates more than $5 billion to fund the construction of a physical wall along the nation's southern border.

     The partial government shutdown is now ranked as the longest shutdown in this American history.  Although the shutdown negatively affects all Americans, it particularly endangers the livelihoods of the nation's poorest and most vulnerable citizens.  Most significantly, because the USDA is affected by the shutdown, millions of these citizens may be left to go hungry as the shutdown drags on. 

     As a result of the partial government shutdown, 95 percent of federal staff for the USDA's Food and Nutrition Services has been furloughed, federal funding is not available for food assistance programs, including the "Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for Women, Infants, and Children" (WIC), and the "Commodity Supplemental Food Program," and the nation's child nutrition assistance programs may cease to function when existing federal funds for those programs are exhausted in February.  The USDA is also warning that the shutdown may force it to severely cut the nation's largest, and most important, food assistance program, known as the "Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program" (SNAP), which, in September 2018 alone, served more than 38.5 million Americans at an approximate cost $4.7 million.  Although current congressional appropriations are sufficient to fund SNAP through January, commencing in February, the USDA will need to fund the program's operations by tapping into a $3 billion emergency fund, which is insufficient to cover even two-thirds of the anticipated program costs for February.  Accordingly, unless the government reopens before the end of January, millions of Americans who live below the poverty line could be left in the lurch, and have their access to food reduced by February and eliminated by March. 

     With each passing day that the federal government remains closed, the livelihoods of the poorest Americans will be endangered all the more, and the continuation of this shutdown beyond January 2019 will ensure that these vulnerable citizens, who already struggle to get by, will be forced to endure even greater difficulties in satisfying their basic human needs. It is, therefore, imperative that the Congress and President of the United States take whatever action is necessary to ensure the immediate reopening of the federal government and the allocation of adequate federal funding for these essential food and nutrition assistance programs. Moreover, if the President vetoes congressionally passed legislation to reopen government and fund these programs, as he has threatened to do, it is imperative that the U.S. Congress use its constitutional authority to immediately override that veto, and thereby ensure the reopening of government and the funding of these essential programs, for the good of the country and its poorest and most vulnerable citizens.

feedback