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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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  • AJW

    This ” experiment” isn’t gonna change anythig. The poor will still get shafted and demonized as leeches. I’m more concerned about corporate welfare programs.
    I am utterly sick & tired of the poor being dragged all the damn time.
    My thing is this. Cut everything off from the poor & see what happens. Is the economy going to miraculously recover over night? Or are we still going to be indebted to other countries. Will cutting these people off of food assistance create an abundance of jobs for them that will just fall out of the sky?
    Why aren’t people as outraged when the the outstretched begging hands are thst of corporations? Why aren’t more people outraged at that? They want to cut more programs for the poor. Well to me the WHOLE welfare system should be dissolved then to include NOT giving corporate handouts as well. PERIOD. Bush gave them 8yrs of tax breaks ( handouts) to “create jobs” & “stimulate” the economy….. We see how that turned out & they are still begging for privileges.
    As long as most Americans keep believing that the hard working poor person is a unicorn or flat out lie, we will continue to see the poverty numbers increase. Some of the hardest working people are the working poor & barely middle class. They don’t get no love, they get bootstrap lectures. The rich elite corps on the other hand get rewarded billion dollar checks for their f$&k ups, ect.

  • Mademoiselle

    I was about to go in on these politicians “living off food stamps” until I read the article where it says they’re living on a food stamp budget.

    Either way, I’m getting sick of these elitist challenges. So you live on stamps for a few weeks, and what? Now you realize $4.50 a day is nearly suicidal, and then go right back to your 6- or 7-figure lifestyles? Don’t just protest the budget cut and leave poor people exactly where they were before your epiphany — propose legislation to revise the program altogether so that the people that have been living on $4.50 a day end up less deprived. Don’t make a sideshow out of maintaining status quo and then expect a parade in your honor. At the end of this stunt, the headline will be “You would’ve been even poorer if it weren’t for my bleeding heart, so be grateful that your still as poor as you were yesterday.” This is nothing but a smokescreen to keep people from asking for the budget to be increased by being relieved that it at least wasn’t decreased.

    • Allie

      I know RIGHT!

      People don’t need their pity, they need justice

      And how do they get that when a bunch of rich white a-holes run around here making a mockery of their daily lives. This wasn’t cute, this wasn’t helpful, this did nothing but make people upset. If they really wanted to help people they would cut their own wages and the budget from other unnecessary programs instead of bickering over taking food out of people’s mouths.

  • Mademoiselle

    I was about to go in on these politicians “living off food stamps” until I read the article where it says they’re living on a food stamp budget.

    Either way, I’m getting sick of these elitist challenges. So you live on stamps for a few weeks, and what? Now you realize $4.50 a day is nearly suicidal, and then go right back to your 6- or 7-figure lifestyles? Don’t just protest the budget cut and leave poor people exactly where they were before your epiphany — propose legislation to revise the program altogether so that the people that have been living on $4.50 a day end up less deprived. Don’t make a sideshow out of maintaining status quo and then expect a parade in your honor. At the end of this stunt, the headline will be “You would’ve been even poorer if it weren’t for my bleeding heart, so be grateful that your still as poor as you were yesterday.” This is nothing but a smokescreen to keep people from asking for the budget to be increased by being relieved that it at least wasn’t decreased.

  • I’m over it; these efforts ain’t even quaint anymore.

  • They’ll fulfill the challenge and then be proud of themselves for meeting it. ugh