To draw attention to  House Republicans cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) 26 members of Congress will live off of a food stamp budget.

Labeled the #SNAPChallenge, Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) and 25 participating members must try to live off of under $4.50 per day for food and drink. On Lee’s blog, she wrote about the decisions she had to make while grocery shopping:

“First, I went straight for the crackers. They’re cheap, they last a long time, and they’re portable. Having a baggy of them in my purse at all times keeps the day moving. I found a no-salt, store brand box, also the cheapest, and moved on to the next item on my list: peanut butter. I prefer chunky peanut butter and pick up the reduced fat version. The store brand, again, is a little cheaper, and there’s a sale going on. Sales and coupons are key.

Next, I find canned tuna, canned peas, and a box to make tuna noodle casserole. You can buy the noodles separately, but the boxes are cheap. But, most of them require butter and milk, two things I don’t have a budget for. I read the back of every box and find one that only needs water and is also in my price range. A casserole like that will last several days and is fairly balanced.

Beyond that, I find eggs with six to a carton, not 12, which is helpful, as well as a sale on yams, and get one for $.49/lb. That’s a pretty good deal. I’m calculating in my head as we go what will last past one day, what will actually be good, and what I can add hot sauce to to make things more interesting.”

These member of Congress aren’t the first politicians to live of a food stamp budget. Last year, Newark Mayor Cory Booker participated in a similar challenge that orchestrated itself on Twitter. 

Do these food stamp challenges actually prove anything besides the fact that millions of Americans will suffer at the hands of the SNAP cuts? Or with the $4.50 a day, receiving adequate nutrition is virtually impossible?  Sure it’s great the members of Congress are publicizing how hard it is to live on food stamps, but the real problem is that the ones who make these laws never have to live them.


What do you think about the cuts to the SNAP program?

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