Monday, August 05, 2013

The SNAP Challenge (Part 1): Nearly 30 Members of Congress Living on $4.50 a Day

More than two dozen members of the House of Representatives participated in the SNAP Challenge this year, in effort to experience what life is like for millions of low-income Americans living on the average daily allowance of only $4.50 per day. Rep. Barbara Lee from California was one of the organizers of the effort in Congress.

Wisconsin Hunger Task Force billboard
The grouip was comprised of a mix of recenly elected House members (Reps. Michelle Lujan Grisham from New Mexico, Beto O'Rourke from Texas, Suzan DelBene from Washington, and Mark Pocan from Wisconsin) and veterans (Reps. Jim McGovern from Massachusetts, Peter DeFazio from Oregon, Keith Ellison from Minnesota, and Jan Schakowsky from Illinois). Here is the full list  of participants.  Check out this video with comments from Rep. McGovern and other SNAP Challenge participants..

This year's challenge attracted special attention because organizers timed the exercise to bring attention to the proposed cuts of about  $20.5 billion in the SNAP program as the Farm Bill was coming to the floor of the House for a vote.  That particular version of the Farm Bill was defeated.  But the House later separated the safety-net nutrition programs from the Farm Bill and brought the measure to the floor for a vote. That bill won by a narrow margin. The Republican-led House is now expected to consider a measure that only deals with the nutrition programs with proposed cuts of $40 billion in SNAP. If approved, these cuts would have to be reconciled with the Senate version of the Farm Bill, which cuts $4.5 billion from the SNAP program. 

Next:: Comments from Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham

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