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Governors Mary Fallin (L) (R-OK) and Bobby Jindal (R-LA) listen as Governor Dannel Malloy (R) (D-CT) speaks to reporters after a National Governors Association event hosted by U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House in Washington February 24, 2014. ..REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque  (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS) - RTX19ETT
Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy
The Democratic governors of Connecticut and New York have taken action to prevent their states from losing tens of millions of dollars in nutrition assistance thanks to the $800 million a year that Congress recently cut from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Those cuts targeted mostly blue states through a provision often called "heat and eat," in which states could qualify residents for higher food stamp benefits by giving them a small amount of heating assistance. Congress raised the amount of heating assistance needed to qualify for the increased SNAP benefits to $20, intending that states wouldn't be willing to offer the increased heating assistance, allowing the federal government to cut food stamps. But that won't be happening in Connecticut and New York:
Anne Foley, an undersecretary of the Connecticut Office of Policy and Management, said increasing heating assistance is “absolutely not a loophole.”

“It’s a way in which we identify households that have extraordinary needs and legitimately ought to have additional federal funding for nutrition assistance,” she said.

An order by [Connecticut Gov. Dannel] Malloy will spend about $1.4 million in federal energy aid, increasing benefits for 50,000 low-income Connecticut residents from $1 to $20 so they do not lose $112 in monthly food stamp benefits. It will preserve about $67 million in food stamp benefits. New York will spend about $6 million more in federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program funding to maintain food stamp benefits totaling $457 million.

That means New York City's emergency food providers, already hit hard by SNAP benefit cuts in November, won't face another disastrous wave of need. Now if California, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, Washington, DC, and Wisconsin will just follow suit, a big piece of this congressional effort to slash the safety net will have been turned back.

Sign and send the petition demanding that your governor increase heating assistance to low-income families as a means of restoring their food stamp benefits.

Originally posted to Laura Clawson on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 12:15 PM PST.

Also republished by Hunger in America, California politics, and Daily Kos.

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