TRENTON, N.J. (AP) -- Lawmakers failed to override Gov. Chris Christie's veto of a bill that aimed at helping low-income residents pay for their energy bills.

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The Democratic-controlled Assembly voted 43-21 to counter Christie on Thursday, but the tally fell short of the two-thirds majority needed. There were seven abstentions.

The issue reaches back to a 2014 federal law that allowed residents to get additional Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program help if they also received a minimum of $20 in heating assistance.

The New Jersey bill set the heating assistance allotment for qualifying residents at $21 so they could also receive added benefits from SNAP -- once called food stamps.

Christie vetoed the bill in September. He said it violated federal guidance requiring "proper documentation" of a resident's qualification.


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