News Department

Gottheimer introduces bipartisan legislation to help boost access, affordability of healthy foods with SNAP

NEW JERSEY – U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) Tuesday joined food pantry workers, anti-hunger advocates, and local elected officials to announce new bipartisan legislation he is leading to boost access and affordability of nutritious foods.

Gottheimer also highlighted his efforts to combat the efforts of far-right extremists in Congress to cut critical, lifesaving federal anti-hunger and nutrition programs.

Gottheimer is leading the bipartisan SNAP Nutrition Security Act of 2023 in the House of Representatives with Republican Representative Lori Chavez-DeRemer (OR-5). Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) are leading companion bipartisan legislation in the Senate. The legislation is endorsed by Hunger Free America.

Families receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits have trouble accessing and affording nutritious foods. This leads to diabetes, obesity, heart disease, stroke, and certain cancers. The U.S. Department of Agriculture currently reports on food insecurity in U.S. households, but we don’t have any concrete data on the nutrition behind our families’ food, especially for those receiving SNAP benefits, and how SNAP is impacting access to nutritious foods.

The Bipartisan, Bicameral SNAP Nutrition Security Act of 2023 will:

  • Add reporting on nutrition to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s existing and annual reporting. For the first time, there will be clear-cut data on how SNAP impacts nutrition, providing the tools to improve access and affordability of nutritious food for children, seniors, and families in need.
  • Require an anonymized SNAP sales report every four years to understand the affordability of foods and what types of products are typically purchased with SNAP resources.
  • Boost transparency for federal programs to ensure that we can help more struggling children and families access healthier foods.
    Help us get healthier foods to SNAP recipients, which includes millions of children and seniors.

Hunger and Nutrition Program Statistics:

  • In the U.S., more than 44 million people go hungry, including one in five children.
  • In New Jersey, more than 800,000 people face hunger — including nearly 200,000 children. One in ten Jersey kids are facing hunger.
  • In recent years, reports found that one in nine people in Bergen County, New Jersey did not have appropriate access to nutritious food and that 30 percent were children.
  • In April 2023, 41.9 million people in 22.2 million households received SNAP benefits. That is 12.5% of the total U.S. population. On average, SNAP provides less than $3 per meal.
  • The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) served about 6.3 million participants each month last year, including about 39% of all infants across America and more than 34,000 infants in New Jersey.
  • The economic cost of nutrition-related chronic diseases has been estimated at $16 trillion between 2011 to 2020.
  • Students with higher grades and better mental health are more likely to eat breakfast every day, eat fruits and vegetables, drink milk, and avoid soda.

Attempts by Far-Right Extremists to Cut Federal Nutrition Assistance Programs:

  • Far-right extremists in Congress have refused to include any additional investments for WIC.
  • In their proposed Agriculture appropriation bill, far-right extremists in the House included massive cuts to SNAP and WIC — an extreme proposal that would turn away 600,000 eligible women and children from WIC and put approximately a million Americans at risk of losing critical SNAP benefits.
  • Far-right extremists have taken us to the brink of a government shutdown. A shut down will hurt Jersey’s seniors and veterans and freeze the federal school meals program that provides breakfast and lunch to millions of children who otherwise go hungry. It will end Meals on Wheels for seniors and will put vital nutrition assistance at risk for nearly seven million women and children who rely on WIC. SNAP benefits will also be at risk.

Gottheimer’s Work to Protect and Increase Investments in SNAP and WIC:

  • Gottheimer helped get signed into law legislation to increase funding for SNAP.
  • Gottheimer helped lead the charge on protecting and expanding the federal school meals program that millions of children rely on. Gottheimer is also helping lead legislation to allow any child who qualifies for reduced meals to receive them at no cost and to cut red tape to enroll in school meal programs.
  • Gottheimer is fighting to pass the Universal School Meals Program Act.

“Thankfully, in addition to our food pantries, we have federal anti-hunger and nutrition programs which are critical to keeping kids and families in need fed. I have two kids, and I can tell you with confidence that every parent wants their kids to eat the healthiest foods possible. We need to make sure we’re doing everything we can to promote and incentivize healthy eating. But first you need to have the data to help make that happen. This new bipartisan legislation will help us get healthier foods to SNAP recipients, which includes millions of children and seniors,” Gottheimer said. “It makes me sick that far-right extremists are ready to punish families in need. They see starving pregnant women, mothers, babies, and young children and choose to let them suffer. Imagine being a parent trying to make ends meet and having to tell your kid they won’t be getting a Christmas gift this year because they need to save for food?”

“This report proves that the extra federal food and cash aid, for which Rep. Gottheimer fought so hard and successfully, significantly decreased hunger, but after Congressional conservatives forced that extra aid to expire, hunger across New Jersey and America soared. This report should be a jarring wake up call for all elected officials and business leaders to take concrete actions to raise wages, expand free school meals, and otherwise strengthen the nutrition safety net to ensure that none in New Jersey goes hungry,” said Joel Berg, CEO of Hunger Free America, a nationwide direct service and advocacy nonprofit organization.

Gottheimer was joined by Bergen County Commissioners Tracy Zur and Rafael Marte, Bergenfield Mayor Arvin Amatorio, Bergenfield Councilwoman Ora Kornbluth, Bergenfield Councilman Buddy Deauna, and CEO of Hunger Free America Joel Berg.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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