Concord, N.H. – Today, the Republican New Hampshire Senate voted to pass SB7, a bill introduced by Republican State Senator Kevin Avard and originally written by the national GOP organization, Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA). The bill would establish a work requirement, mandate child support payments in exchange for welfare benefits, and change some recipients’ eligibility statuses.
The neighboring state of Maine has already adopted the form-written law. Under the law in Maine, the number of children receiving food stamp benefits dropped to 8,461 as the number of children in extreme poverty in the state is estimated to be 19,000. The state, which receives federal funding for the program, has pocketed $155 million of that money under the law rather than spending it on the over 10,000 children in extreme poverty who are not receiving benefits. Maine’s attempt to divert the money into a different state program have been unsuccessful.
New Hampshire is estimated to kick 17,000 residents off of food stamps if SB7 is passed. One third of the 94,000 Granite Staters receiving these 100% federally funded benefits are children.
“Children in extreme poverty are the most vulnerable community in our state and Senator Avard’s bill will take food off of their plates. The bill is no different than the one passed in Maine, which booted more than 10,000 children off of food stamps,” said NHDP Chair Ray Buckley. “Under SB7, New Hampshire would leave designated federal money unused, forcing our most vulnerable to fend for themselves.”
Buckley continued, “The amendment introduced today was designed to make the bill more palatable, but all it does is disguise the harmful provisions that still exist. Republicans in the state Senate are either blind to the impact of this bill and the struggles of those on welfare or don’t care about digging tens of thousands of Granite Staters into deeper poverty and desperation. Children should not be the target of his misunderstanding of the welfare system. Avard clearly put little thought into the bill, originally copying the language word for word from a GOP think tank’s website. This bill does not specifically cater to New Hampshire’s needs. Instead, it’s an attempt by big money lobbyists to re-do the welfare system state by state. We should reject this disgusting assault on New Hampshire children.”