Skip to main content

Congresswoman Robin Kelly successfully voted today to protect more than 2 million Illinois residents who rely on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) from a proposed $20 billion in cuts to the program, the nation’s most important anti-hunger initiative.

The House of Representatives voted 234 to 195 to defeat a Speaker John Boehner backed farm bill. Many Republicans rejected the bill because the cuts to SNAP did not go deep enough. Sixty-two Republicans, or more than a quarter of the caucus, voted with Democrats to defeat the bill.

Rep. Robin Kelly (D-IL) announced last week that she is participating in the "SNAP Challenge," to shine a light on the choices low-income Americans go through every single day for themselves and to support their families. Many Americans and American families are forced to make these food shopping choices on a limited budget, and the "SNAP Challenge" will help Rep. Robin Kelly feel the difficulties in avoiding hunger, affording nutritious foods, and staying healthy with too few resources.

The cuts were included in H.R. 1947, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013, or Farm Bill.

“The SNAP program is a means of survival for more than 2 million residents in Illinois. The proposed massive cuts would have taken food out of the mouths of our children and made it that much tougher for working families and seniors to meet their basic food needs,”  Rep. Kelly said. “Today I voted to protect SNAP recipients, who already struggle to put food on the table, from being pushed even further into hunger. I look forward to working with my colleagues to pass a Farm Bill that supports our farmers while also protecting the nation’s vital food safety net.”

Rep. Robin Kelly went shopping in preparation for the SNAP Challenge.
She says, "It's not easy planning meals on just $4.50 a day while trying to eat somewhat healthy."
Prior to the vote, Congresswoman Kelly, along with more than two dozen of her Democratic House colleagues, participated in the SNAP Challenge, in which members lived on just $4.50 per day – the average SNAP benefit – to draw attention to the potential cuts as well as to demonstrate the tight food budget of the typical SNAP recipient.  Congresswoman Kelly spoke today on the House floor about the challenge and the need to protect SNAP funding.

In Illinois, 88 percent of households receiving SNAP have income below the poverty line, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Additionally, nearly half of those who receive SNAP benefits in Illinois are children, according to the Center.

The Greater Chicago Food Depository explains that the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as Food Stamps, is a vital piece of the federal food and nutrition safety net, aiming to alleviate hunger by providing a means for low-income households to purchase food. Next week, however, Congress will consider a farm bill that includes a $20 billion cut to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

Rep. Robin Kelly went shopping in preparation for the "SNAP Challenge," and found that it's not easy planning meals on just $4.50 a day while trying to eat healthy. Here she is comparing prices on canned vegetables.

Rep. Robin Kelly (D, IL-02) was joined by fellow House Democrats Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D, IL-09), Rep. Barbara Lee (D, CA-13), Rep. Sander Levin (D, MI-09), Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D, NM-01), Rep. Suzan DelBene (D, WA-01), Rep. Mark Pocan (D, WI-2), Rep.  John Carney (D, DE), Rep. Matthew Cartwright (D, PA-17), Rep. Joe Crowley (D, NY-14), Rep. John Conyers (D, MI-13), Rep. Peter DeFazio (D, OR-04), Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-WA-01), Rep. Theodore Deutch (D, FL-21), Rep. Keith Ellison (D, MN-05), Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D, NM-01), Rep. Hank Johnson (D, GA-04), Rep. Eleanor Holmes-Norton (D-DC), Rep. Jared Huffman (D, CA-02), Rep. Daniel Kildee (D, MI-05), Rep. Ann Kuster (D, NH-02), Rep. James Langevin (D, RI-02), Rep. Doris Matsui (D, CA-06), Rep. Jim McGovern (D, MA-02), Rep. Richard Nolan (D, MN-08), Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D, TX-16), Rep. Donald Payne, Jr. (D, NJ-10), Rep. Marc Veasey (D, TX-33) and Rep. Melvin Watt (D, NC-12).

But not one Republican House member participated in the "SNAP Challenge."

Although, there is one Texas Republican House member that will dispute this claim that only Democrats took the "SNAP Challenge."

In a press release by 36th District Texas Rep. Steve Stockman (R, R-36) announced that this "SNAP Challenge" was a "publicity stunt" by the Democratic House members. Claiming that he has now "debunked" the "SNAP Challenge" of some 30 House Democrats, Rep. Stockman assigned his communications director and agriculture policy advisor, Donny Ferguson, to go hungry.

Donny Ferguson certainly made the best of taking the "SNAP Challenge."

“I wanted to personally experience the effects of the proposed cuts to food stamps.  I didn’t plan ahead or buy strategically, I just saw the publicity stunt and made a snap decision to drive down the street and try it myself. I put my money where my mouth is, and the proposed food stamp cuts are still quite filling,” said Ferguson.

“We can cut the proposed benefits by an additional 12.4 percent and still be able to eat for a week,” said Ferguson. “Not only am I feeding myself for less than the SNAP Challenge, I will probably have food left over.”

What food is left over at the end of the week will be donated to a food bank, along with the $3.92 Ferguson had left over from the $31.50 SNAP Challenge figure.

The $3.92 left over should go a long way toward feeding the hungry at the local food bank, since Ferguson and his boss, Rep. Steve Stockman feel strongly that the poor are overeating.

This clash of parties, brings the issue into clear focus. Interesting that Rep. Stockman refused to take the "SNAP Challenge" himself, which speaks volumes of the differences between the Democrats and the Republicans in the House of Representatives.

The 30 House Democrats personally felt the pain of their constituents, whereas, this particular Republican ordered his paid staff member to feel his constituents pain and the Congressman quickly determined that there is no pain.

Rep. Robin Kelly bumped into Rep. Jan Schakowsky in the grocery store, who is also doing the SNAP challenge. They are debating whether they should split a package of chicken to stay within a $4.50-a-day food budget.
This cut by Congress would be devastating as more than 2 million Illinois residents rely on SNAP benefits and 88% of Illinois households receiving SNAP have income that is below the poverty line. There are nearly 46.2 million people across the country participating in SNAP, and in Cook County more than 820,000 individuals depend on SNAP to help put food on the table each month.

The "SNAP Challenge" gives participants a view of what life can be like for millions of low-income Americans. Most participants take the Challenge for one week, living on about $5 per day worth of food – the average benefit.

Democratic House members that participated in the SNAP Challenge. (Photo via office of Rep. Barbara Lee)
Members of Congress, governors, state officials, journalists and other community leaders have taken the "SNAP Challenge" and have learned firsthand what it is like to try to make ends meet on the average SNAP benefit. Another Illinois Congresswoman, Jan Schakowsky, has also accepted the challenge.

Rep. Robin Kelly took the "SNAP Challenge," in light of a farm bill that will include a $20 billion cut to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Rep. Kelly said that this "cut would be devastating as more than 2 million Illinois residents rely on SNAP benefits and 88% of Illinois households receiving SNAP have income that is below the poverty line. To protest this cut and call attention to the issue of food insecurity in America, I will be taking the SNAP Challenge."

Rep. Kelly went on to explain how the "SNAP Challenge" works. "For two days, beginning Thursday, I will be living on the average SNAP benefit of $4.50 per day or $1.50 per meal. I expect to learn a lot about the struggle of the average SNAP family during the challenge and I hope others will too. I also hope that you will be encouraged to help fight these cuts as well as the overall problem of hunger in America."

Rep. Kelly took the challenge for the entire seven days.

Please follow along here and put yourself in the shoes of those less fortunate. This cut, if enacted, would be devastating as more than 2 million Illinois residents rely on SNAP benefits and 88% of Illinois households receiving SNAP have income that is below the poverty line. I expect to learn a lot about the struggle of the average SNAP family during the challenge and I hope you will too. I also hope that you will join me in fighting these cuts as well as the overall problem of hunger in America.
Here are a few facts:

ILLINOIS SNAP FACTS: Nearly half of those who receive SNAP benefits in Illinois are children. The SNAP program is an important tool in combating childhood hunger.

ILLINOIS SNAP FACTS: 39% of all SNAP participants in Illinois are in working families. The SNAP program is an important bridge for working families in making ends meet.

ILLINOIS SNAP FACTS: Moody’s Analytics estimates that in a weak economy, $1 in SNAP benefits generates $1.70 in economic activity. SNAP benefits pumped about $3.13 billion into Illinois’ economy in 2012. Cuts to the SNAP program would be harmful to Illinois' families and economy.

ILLINOIS SNAP FACTS: The average monthly SNAP benefit per household in Illinois is just $288. The vast majority of these households - 88% - have income below the poverty line (about $22,000 for a family of four). These families rely on SNAP to meet their basic food needs and would be devastated by the proposed $20 billion in cuts to the program.

Send John Presta an email and your story ideas or suggestions at johnpresta@att.net.

John is the author of an award-winning book, the 2010 Winner of the USA National Best Book award for African American studies, published by The Elevator Group, Mr. and Mrs. Grassroots. Also available an eBook on Amazon. John is also a member of the Society of Midland Authors and is a book reviewer of political books for the New York Journal of Books. John has volunteered for many political campaigns. John is an unpaid volunteer and social media advisor at Robin Kelly for Congress.

Originally posted to Mr. Grassroots on Thu Jun 20, 2013 at 08:01 PM PDT.

Also republished by Hunger in America.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Oh, sure! (22+ / 0-)
    “We can cut the proposed benefits by an additional 12.4 percent and still be able to eat for a week,” said Ferguson. “Not only am I feeding myself for less than the SNAP Challenge, I will probably have food left over.”
    I would like to see him try this for three months.  He would change his tune, fast.

    Join us at Bookflurries-Bookchat on Wednesday nights 8:00 PM EST

    by cfk on Thu Jun 20, 2013 at 07:29:53 PM PDT

    •  I wonder if he included other items that eat into (8+ / 0-)

      the weekly benefit amount, things like toothpaste, deodorant, and spices that SNAP participants would need to buy periodically but not every week.  

      I would bet that if he considered the average weekly cost of all of these types of items this would eliminate his $3.92 left.  

      •  you can buy spices, yes (14+ / 0-)

        but you can't buy deodorant, toilet tissue, or toothpaste on SNAP.

        And we sail and we sail and we never see land, just the rum in the bottle and a pipe in my hand...

        by Mortifyd on Thu Jun 20, 2013 at 07:45:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Then how do the poor get the $ to pay for these (5+ / 0-)

          things?  What about toilet paper?  

          Seems like it would be unreasonable to exclude these necessary hygiene items from the help we give to these folks.

          •  well it depends. (11+ / 0-)

            Sometimes you can get them from food or support pantries, like I did in Oregon, I could get shampoo and personal items once a month or so if I remembered to ask and they had them in stock. Or you can recycle for cash to buy them, or you steal TP from public bathrooms, or you just don't have them.

            And we sail and we sail and we never see land, just the rum in the bottle and a pipe in my hand...

            by Mortifyd on Thu Jun 20, 2013 at 08:26:56 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Thanks. I had no idea that food stamps didn't pay (7+ / 0-)

              for these items until I saw your comment above.  

              Maybe it is worth a diary explaining what necessities are not covered by food stamps and how you get them so that those of us who are fortunate enough never to have been in this situation can understand things better.  

              •  basically, if it's not preparable food (15+ / 0-)

                it's not allowed.  No vitamins or energy drinks, no hot food from the deli - now if it's cold put out for quick sale that's ok, (yesterday's chicken strips) but you can't pick up hot deli food for dinner for the family on SNAP.  Cheap empty calories are really all you can afford if you have to live on it - the maximum monthly allotment for a single adult is $200.  You get more with kids, but not enough to eat an actual healthy diet.

                No OTC medicines, no personal items - tp, feminine hygiene products, adult or childrens diapers, razors, toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, dish or clothing detergents, bandages, topical antibiotic creams, shaving cream - those are all money or forget it.  No alcohol or tobacco.  And since SNAP is distributed on swipe cards now - there's no way to get cash.  The card is not a debit card, so it can't be used to pay for anything other than food where it's accepted - major grocery stores and chain shops like 7-11, Circle K, Walgreens, CVS accept them, many privately owned shops and small grocers do not.

                Back in the old days the $1 Food Stamp could be broken and change was given in real cash money.  So you could buy a nickel piece of candy and get ninety five cents back to spend on a cash item like TP.  

                That was how people bought those necessary basics, they made multiple single purchases of small food items until they had enough to pay for the tp or the shampoo or whatever they needed.  But you had to get back in line and make your purchases over and over, you couldn't do multiple single purchases.  So it was still shameful, but you could get what you needed.

                Lawmakers decided this was "cheating" because it allowed people cash they could use for cigarettes or beer - and the issuing of change was stopped and the program revamped into the card system we have today.  

                I worked as a cashier at a grocery store when the old style were still in use in the 90s.

                And we sail and we sail and we never see land, just the rum in the bottle and a pipe in my hand...

                by Mortifyd on Thu Jun 20, 2013 at 09:16:22 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  And know what to donate. (9+ / 0-)

                Usually things like beans and soups are in oversupply, but fresh foods, toiletries, diapers, and feminine care products are in limited supply.

                •  Never thought about that when making donations. (6+ / 0-)

                  I will now.

                  if a habitat is flooded, the improvement for target fishes increases by an infinite percentage...because a habitat suitability index that is even a tiny fraction of 1 is still infinitely higher than zero, which is the suitability of dry land to fishes.

                  by mrsgoo on Thu Jun 20, 2013 at 10:21:42 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  fresh fruits and veggies (9+ / 0-)

                  at affordable prices are the hardest problem I think, short shelf life and almost not findable in urban or food deserts

                  fact does not require fiction for balance (proudly a DFH)

                  by mollyd on Thu Jun 20, 2013 at 10:29:49 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Depends (6+ / 0-)

                    The local pantries here have started hitting up the grocery stores for fruits and veggies that are discarded for ugliness, not because they aren't good. They also get bread and refrigerated items that are close to expiration.

                    Definitely not fun trying to be REALLY careful how much TP you use. Saving anything that was used for something that wasn't very dirty.

                    The weird thing for me is that powdered protein is considered a vitamin/supplement. It can be a heck of a lot cheaper than meat or dairy - and healthier.  

                    Given what I'm reading about the ranchers in sustained drought areas selling off their stock, the meat prices are only going to go up.

                    "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

                    by Ginny in CO on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 12:21:18 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  In Cleveland, we have an exploding number (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    radical simplicity

                    of urban farms and farmers markets, many of them in inner-city areas, and all now take SNAP. I believe all (I know most) participate in a program where if you spend $10 in SNAP you get $20 worth of food. So people are working hard to make it affordable.

                    One of the issues is teaching people about food. if they don't know how to prepare it, there's no use making it available even for free. The director of a farmers market in our poorest area says he tears his hair out over this. People look at a zucchini like it's a turd. Kids don't even know where lettuce and tomatoes come from; they think they are made in the kitchen at McDonald's.

                    Ed FitzGerald for governor Of Ohio. Women's lives depend on it. http://www.edfitzgeraldforohio.com/

                    by anastasia p on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 10:06:36 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  settlement houses (0+ / 0-)

                      at the turn of the 20th century when the immigrants arrived in the cities they did not know how to cook the "new" foods, live in cities or even what was healthy, the settlement houses gave classes. That is where the Settlement House ( toll house cookie) came from.

                      fact does not require fiction for balance (proudly a DFH)

                      by mollyd on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 04:32:17 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

            •  And the stuff in pantries is ALWAYS scented (7+ / 0-)

              People donate the cheapest stuff with the strongest perfumes.

              I would pretty much die if I had to rely on food pantries for shampoo and soap. Seriously - the perfumes would exacerbate my asthma in a big way.

              Now that I think of it, I wonder if that's part of the increase in asthma incidence among poor children?

          •  It's tough luck, especially when Republicans (4+ / 0-)

            are writing the rules. Just tough luck.

            Figure it out. Hope for help. Do without.

            "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

            by YucatanMan on Thu Jun 20, 2013 at 09:52:13 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  there is a lot of doing without (6+ / 0-)

              going on.  Parents giving up meals to make sure the kids can eat something until the next round of SNAP.  Dental and hygiene problems because you simply can't get access to the products needed to get clean, much less be presentable for looking for work.

              If you can't shave, brush your teeth, wash your hair, wash your body and your clothes - what chance do you have to improve your situation?

              And we sail and we sail and we never see land, just the rum in the bottle and a pipe in my hand...

              by Mortifyd on Thu Jun 20, 2013 at 11:15:27 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  PRAY, the Lord will provide... (6+ / 0-)

              Had a home care patient once for wound care. He was emaciated, the small wound was not healing. Meals on wheels was delivering.

              I looked at his pallid skin and his toddler grandchildren running around without diapers. Almost no furniture. 40 watt bulb in the ceiling fixture. (Had to use a flashlight to see the wound and dress it.)

              I'd be surprised if he got even one whole meal a day.

              While I was still doing his wound care, one of the new PHS doctors (fresh MD) was assigned to accompany me. I took him there.  He said something to the effect "That was horrible. Thank you for taking me."

              I think in addition to trying to eat on the SNAP budget, the congress critters who think these folks are living high should hook up with some DC home care nurses or child social workers. Someone who can also reinforce what happens to a developing brain in a body that is hungry. The nutrients aren't there and the stress can make the brain development really inadequate for age. Some things have a window of time to develop, if it doesn't happen then, it won't.  Maybe when we get stem cells figured out.

              "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

              by Ginny in CO on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 12:37:39 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  Ferguson: "Who needs teeth? " (8+ / 0-)

        You can't make this stuff up.

        by David54 on Thu Jun 20, 2013 at 08:12:31 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Did you read what be bought for that money? (17+ / 0-)

      He shopped at Dollar Tree and bought total garbage food. A large can of spaghetti sauce, cookies, Wyler's drink mix, grape jelly, peanut butter and a loaf of bread. No vegetables or meat.

      "Pulling together is the aim of despotism and tyranny. Free men pull in all kinds of directions.” --Lord Vetinari

      by voracious on Thu Jun 20, 2013 at 07:45:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  What he bought (9+ / 0-)

      I saw the list of the items he bought--mostly at dollar store. It reads like a list of what a kid likes. Grape jelly and peanut butter. Two large bottles of root beer.

      Okay, he also bought beans and rice, which are good things to eat--more so if it is brown rice, but I doubt the dollar store has that.

      What his items didn't include: anything resembling fresh fruit or vegetables.

      He's willing (he says) to live on this food for a week. Live on it for longer than that, and some kind of serious chronic illness is guaranteed.

      One more thing about what he bought: he clearly likes the Farm Bill, because his choices are skewed to all the industries that get the giant subsidies, like corn, sugar, wheat, and none toward those who produce the healthiest foods, like veggies and fruits.

      •  I've known a lot of college boys (0+ / 0-)

        who would be happy to live on cookies popsicles, and root beer. Not saying they're healthy though...

        Ed FitzGerald for governor Of Ohio. Women's lives depend on it. http://www.edfitzgeraldforohio.com/

        by anastasia p on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 10:10:08 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  He'll have illnesses popping up if he (10+ / 0-)

      keeps eating what he's eating for 6 months to a year.

      Basically, he bought a bunch of junk food:

      A quick look at his shopping list shows a decided lack of fresh produce and moreover, a reliance on exactly the kind of processed and junk food that studies show lead directly to obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart disease and a host of other health issues.
         For $21.55 Ferguson purchased at Dollar Tree:
          Two boxes of Honeycomb cereal
          Three cans of red beans and rice
          Jar of peanut butter
          Bottle of grape jelly
          Loaf of whole wheat bread
          Two cans of refried beans
          Box of spaghetti
          Large can of pasta sauce
          Two liters of root beer
          Large box of popsicles
          24 servings of Wyler’s fruit drink mix
          Eight cups of applesauce
          Bag of pinto beans
          Bag of rice
          Bag of cookies

          For $6.03 at the Shoppers Food Warehouse next door Ferguson bought a gallon of milk and a box of maple and brown sugar oatmeal.

      It's possible to live on this kind of junk food, but it is not healthy over time. Even a short time.  He doesn't appear to have enough for 21 balanced meals or 21 meals at all.  What he appears to have is a bunch of junk food to hold off hunger pains for one week of poor nutrition. Spaghetti, plus rice and beans, beans and rice, rice and beans.  And what?  Popsicles for lunch?

      No fresh produce. No meat.  Beans don't have a full compliment of proteins on their own.

      "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

      by YucatanMan on Thu Jun 20, 2013 at 09:49:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  True: (6+ / 0-)
        Beans don't have a full compliment of proteins on their own.
        but in combination with grains, esp. whole grains like whole wheat bread, you get all the protein. And even beans with white rice would provide the complementary proteins.

        After a week on a diet like that, though, I would be craving broccoli and cauliflower and the like.

        He could have skipped the canned refried beans, too, and simply made them himself from his bag of pinto beans. Or bought cans of regular beans and refried them. (That's what I do: a can of pink beans, drained, makes wonderful refritos.)

        Where are the onions? Onions are cheap, and would be essential for rice & beans if only to add some flavor.

        Of course, he probably already has some onions in his larder if he cooks at all -- and he must, if he knows what to do with dried beans and a bag of rice. Spices, too.

        Irony takes a worse beating from Republicans than Wile E. Coyote does from Acme. --Tara the Antisocial Social Worker

        by Youffraita on Thu Jun 20, 2013 at 11:01:24 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  You think he actually ate that shit? n-t (4+ / 0-)

        This better be good. Because it is not going away.

        by DerAmi on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 12:14:46 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Exactly what I was thinking. (0+ / 0-)

          He claimed to eat all this, but he just went to buy it, wrote about it and that was that.

          No one should expect Republicans to tell the truth.

          "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

          by YucatanMan on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 12:53:50 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  You forgot to bold the bag of cookies. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        YucatanMan

        Probably not the best deployment of limited dollars.

        Ed FitzGerald for governor Of Ohio. Women's lives depend on it. http://www.edfitzgeraldforohio.com/

        by anastasia p on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 10:10:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Charles Dickens worthy comment. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      historys mysteries
    •  What's wrong with these congresspeople? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cfk

      Are they too wimpy to assign aides to take the challenge for them?

      By the way, my congresswoman Marcia Fudge did this last year. I went to the grocery store where she held her media event.  A woman who actually was on food assistance showed up after reading about it in the paper, armed with a shopping list and recipes and helped Marcia do her shopping. That was entirely unplanned but made the event even more vivid.

      Also, my Democratic senator, Sherrod Brown, did this a couple of years ago. My Republican senator is probably right now eating a meal that costs more than the weekly SNAP food allotment.

      Ed FitzGerald for governor Of Ohio. Women's lives depend on it. http://www.edfitzgeraldforohio.com/

      by anastasia p on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 10:03:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for including in your diary the names (8+ / 0-)

    of the Democrats who participated in the SNAP challenge.  

    The SNAP challenge couldn't have been easy for them and I think that they should be given credit for going beyond rhetoric and really trying to understand how citizens of limited means live.  

  •  So did Stockman's assistant actually live off of (9+ / 0-)

    what he bought, and more specifically - ONLY on what he bought for the week?

    Besides, as night cat says above, he sure didn't have to figure in items like toothpaste, deodorant, spices, (and add to that soap, shampoo, toothbrushes, etc.), which also eats into the family budget when there isn't any money to spare.

    Besides, it is a little easier to do the challenge knowing that after the week is over you can go back to your usual level of spending. Families in SNAP don't have that luxury.

    And this only addresses food, not healthcare, rent, utilities, and transportation.

    Stockman is an unfeeling a**hole.

    "A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops." Henry Adams.

    by glendaw271 on Thu Jun 20, 2013 at 07:49:46 PM PDT

    •  The same question (0+ / 0-)

      occurred to me. These people sound slimy and I wouldn't put it past them. The good part is few paid attention. They really sounded silly, frankly!

      "Never doubt that a small group of committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has!" - Margaret Mead

      by Reading on Walden Bookstore on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 01:05:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  having helped people with SNAP (8+ / 0-)

    I have to admit this was good press.

    The SNAP in FY2012 ran at $81 billion.  This year is going to be close to that again. The ten year projection for SNAP cost is $980 billion.  The GOP wants to reduce that to $959 billion by cutting the current benefit by $16 a month.

    Rather than say they want to cut $21 billion out of $980 billion over ten years, they went right to the this year monthly cost: $16.

    Then the marketing came in!  Can you live on $30 a week?  And eat healthy?  Of course not.

    But the GOP failed to use the counter message: The benefit formula assumes that families will spend 30 percent of their net income for food; SNAP makes up the difference between that 30 percent contribution and the cost of the Thrifty Food Plan, a low-cost but nutritionally adequate diet established by the US Agriculture Department.

    Had the GOP had the brains the Wizard gave the Scarecrow, they would have hammered away those two facts: the supplemental part of SNAP, and $980 billion.

    Instead they went for the hate: Those dirty shiftless poor people are buying soda, candy, and eating out on SNAP cards! Anyone can carefully live on SNAP if they buy smart, but the poor are dumb because they are poor!

    I find that to be some what comforting, the GOP is to dumb to make arguments that would appeal to the common person.

    Stupid question hour starts now and ends in five minutes.

    by DrillSgtK on Thu Jun 20, 2013 at 07:53:26 PM PDT

    •  The GOP Knows How to Play the Game (0+ / 0-)

      The GOP's strategy is to say nothing.  Because there is no "counter argument".

      In other words, the strategy for GOP officeholders is STFU and let the shit fly; the minimal bad publicity will pass quickly.

      Steve Stockman is a moron and can't help himself.  And certainly didn't help the GOP.

      There is no GOP advantage in telling the public that the $4.51 per day is the MAXIMUM benefit.  Let the GOP Auxiliary (Limbaugh et. al.) say that the recipients get a cool 550 bucks for doing nothing.  AND they get a free OBAMA PHONE too!

      •  The message from the GOP was not (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Odysseus

        what you would expect if they knew how to play the game.  It is not a counter argument, but putting a message out that gets the average person to say "well, why not?"  

        Had they been saying "we are just going to reduce the SNAP budget from $81 billion to $79 billion" it would be more palatable to the common person.  If they had said we are expecting the economy to improve and fewer people to be on SNAP so we are lowering the budget, it would have been more palatable to the common person.

        Had they stressed that $4.51 is the max in SUPPLEMENTAL aid  because the idea is a person will pay for some of their food expenses and the real cost is $5.86 per person per day, after all this is a helping hand, not a hand out.  It would have played a lot better.

        Had they not gone for the $30 a week and instead pointed out that SNAP recipients don't get $30 a week they get a monthly lump sum so they could buy in bulk (one of the big things we help people with) it would have appealed to the common voter better.

        But they went to the "all poor a lazy" in the face of starving single mothers trying to make ends meet message the Dem's presented very well.

        Stupid question hour starts now and ends in five minutes.

        by DrillSgtK on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 05:03:06 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Lipstick on a Pig (0+ / 0-)

          There’s no lipstick that will make the GOP’s pig look good here.  The strategy they’ve adopted is Operation Ignore.  

          GOP office holders with even half a brain don’t make themselves available to talk about it.  Steve Stockman, of course, talks about it.

          However, maybe the host of a talking heads show will bring up the topic without warning?  Dang!  That’s the time for the obfuscation tactics that you mentioned.  

          Deny the daily $4.51 amount (just say the actual cost is $5.86 or, if you’re TGOP, $15.86).  Use your skills - Make something up.  Although the USDA website clearly shows a family of 4 gets a MAXIMUM of $551.60 per month.

          Remember to say the amount is just SUPPLEMENTAL.  Of course, a family with ZERO INCOME gets the $4.51 day, so it’s hard to see what they are supposed to supplement that with.  (The little man in the TV host’s earphone won’t know what the word “supplemental” means, so there’s no chance of a follow up question).

          If someone has income and is eligible for the benefit, the benefit isn’t $4.51 per day.  It’s less.  But it’s based on the idea that $4.51 is a reasonable amount.

          That crafty GOPer will also neglect to mention that, no, $4.51 is not ideal.  $4.01 is ideal.  In fact, there’re quite a few GOP colleagues in Congress who think it should be substantially lower than that.  Robin Kelly went over the GOP food budget every day.

          By the time the GOPer has spewed all the above, the TV host will be cueing the commercial break and then on to the next topic.

          So, the Strategy is Operation Ignore:  Don’t Talk About It.

          If talking can’t be avoided:  Filibuster with Obfuscation Tactics.  We've got more shit legislation where that came from - no one important is going to remember this one.

          As always, then go to your air attack under darkness:  Limbaugh and the Obama Phones Food Stamps.

  •  Let's do a KOS SNAP challenge (5+ / 0-)

    I think it would be a good idea for us all to join in and try this, to help give us all our own real knowledge of what it's like and be able to talk to others from our own experience. And give a list of what we bought.

    I can tell you right off that the first item I'd have to go without is coffee. How the hell is THAT going to be?

    It has to start somewhere. It has to start sometime. What better place than here, what better time than now? - Guerilla Radio, Rage Against The Machine.

    by Fordmandalay on Thu Jun 20, 2013 at 08:13:58 PM PDT

    •  You might be able to (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kyril, Ginny in CO, gramofsam1, Odysseus

      just start a diary and ask people on SNAP to tell their stories

      Another point people do not realize is if you make $1 over the income qualification amount , you basically lose $200.00 of income , that happened to me when I was on unemployment , and I was not making enough to cover rent and bills , let alone buy food

      Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers

      by Patango on Thu Jun 20, 2013 at 09:04:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Lots of moats in the lower income brackets. (0+ / 0-)
        Another point people do not realize is if you make $1 over the income qualification amount , you basically lose $200.00 of income
        One thing that many "middle class" people do not realize is that this is not unique.  There are several of these moats in the welfare structure.  If you can't jump over the moat in one leap, you are screwed and it's often rational not to try.

        -7.75 -4.67

        "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

        There are no Christians in foxholes.

        by Odysseus on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 08:21:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Depending on how much coffee (0+ / 0-)

      you drink, you might be able to afford it. You just might have to switch to a different brand. I like Cafe Bustelo, but when I couldn't afford it, I switched to a similar roast & grind from a cheaper (and not quite as good) brand. Of course, if you drink the really good stuff, well, wave good-bye. ;-D

      (These days, I get coffee free at work: my only real perq.)

      Irony takes a worse beating from Republicans than Wile E. Coyote does from Acme. --Tara the Antisocial Social Worker

      by Youffraita on Thu Jun 20, 2013 at 11:09:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I could do it but ... (0+ / 0-)

      I already spend less than this most weeks as a matter of course. And I would have saved a ton last Friday-Tuesday when I broke a tooth and couldn't eat anything .

      Ed FitzGerald for governor Of Ohio. Women's lives depend on it. http://www.edfitzgeraldforohio.com/

      by anastasia p on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 10:13:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Stockman's aide James T Jerk from his point of (0+ / 0-)

    view didn't cheat he changed the conditions of the test.




    I want 1 less Tiny Coffin, Why Don't You? Support The President's Gun Violence Plan.

    by JML9999 on Thu Jun 20, 2013 at 08:14:48 PM PDT

  •  NYC mayoral candidates (8+ / 0-)

    Two Dem candidates for NYC mayor, Anthony Weiner and John Liu, both did the SNAP challenge.

    Had a chance to talk to John Liu about it last Sunday...he certainly didn't consider it easy. Lots of ramen, spaghetti, frozen veggies and the like. My wife and I offered to buy him some potstickers from a food truck (thought it would be torture for him petitioning next to a Taiwanese food truck while so hungry) but he said that would be cheating and refused. He even doesn't drink the bottled water at mayoral forums...only tap water. Poor guy had a Father's Day BBQ scheduled that day and wasn't going to be able to eat anything there (he planned on trying to fill up on spaghetti beforehand). I think yesterday was his last day.

    My brother is on food stamps. Had problems with it (his own problems as well as bureaucratic ones). Will see him when I am out in California soon so can at least take him out for a few meals. I know that the food stamps have been helpful to make ends meet, but don't know how limited he feels by them. Health problems (which he has found hard to deal with because of no insurance!) has made it hard for him to work at all for a few years, so the help was much needed.

    FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. NYC's Progressive/Reform Blog

    by mole333 on Thu Jun 20, 2013 at 08:38:32 PM PDT

  •  snap challenge (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kyril, Bluehawk, Odysseus

    When my Social Security started last month, my SNAP benefit went from $362 to $16/month for two seniors -  I won't bother with the paperwork and privacy invasion for that small amount - my food budget will now be less than $5/day/person, because I won't have that much!  

  •  The list of food (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lungfish, kyril, Youffraita, Bluehawk

    the GOP aid bought was a joke , where I live it would only have bought 1/2 the amount of food he claimed to buy , and you can not stomach a lot of the dollar general food , you eat it once and you will not be going back to eat it again , flavorless generic crap , stone soup is 10 times better  

    And of course prices are going up all the time , so lets cut food aid ? I have been giving my dem reps an ear full for voting yes on these cuts , PLEASE PUT THE PRESSURE ON THESE DEM SELL OUTS!!!! WRITE AND CALL THEM TOMORROW !!!!

    These programs are popular with voters , but dems have this wacky need to appease the minority t baggers , who complain about EVERYTHING , no matter what America does  !!!!!!

    Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers

    by Patango on Thu Jun 20, 2013 at 09:14:13 PM PDT

  •  This Should Be at the Top of the Rec List. (5+ / 0-)

    But it shows Democrats doing something right and being successful at the same time, so it will get drowned out by all of the meta bullshit.

    OFA is out to attack seniors, veterans, and the disabled. A DKOS Troll told me so.

    by kefauver on Thu Jun 20, 2013 at 09:36:05 PM PDT

  •  Steven Fincher, A Republican, Voted To Cut SNAP (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bluehawk, Patango

    by $20 BILLION.  He & his family have collected farm subsidies equaling $8.9 MILLION dollars over the last
    decade for their fat little selves from the Farm Bill.  Mostly in cotton subsidy.

    Steven bellied up to the bar.....but he wants to make sure
    that others go hungry after he's gotten his mammoth portion.

    Oink.....Oink.....Oink, little piggy.  

  •  Unfortunately there are bad Dems in Illinois (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Patango, New Rule, Odysseus

    Like my congresswoman, Cheri Bustos.  She's on the AG committee and voted for the farm bill with the cuts in the committee.  She voted against the McGovern amendment which would have fully funded the SNAP program until the day when the fraud level of the crop insurance dropped to match the incredibly low level of fraud and waste in the SNAP program.

    The good news is Prairie State Blue had a couple of pieces today on Kelly, Schakowsky, and the "No Labels Problem Solver" Cheri Bustos.

    See http://www.prairiestateblue.com/...   and also see http://www.prairiestateblue.com/...

    "The working class mind is strange and unpredictable" -- Ty Lookwell

    by Illinibeatle on Thu Jun 20, 2013 at 11:24:18 PM PDT

    •  Would she be responsive to a letter / call? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Odysseus

      She needs to know that not all her constituents believe that some Farm bill is better than a bad / draconian one.
      Thanks for flagging.

      "..The political class cannot solve the problems it created. " - Jay Rosen

      by New Rule on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 07:33:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  constant identification (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Patango

    of GOP/LIBERTARIAN /TEAPARTY in the public's mind

    should be that they are:  PRO-HUNGER

    The government thinks it's alright to have a record of every single call that an American makes, but not alright for an American citizen to know what sovereign powers the government is negotiating away. ~ Rep. Alan Grayson

    by anyname on Thu Jun 20, 2013 at 11:44:37 PM PDT

  •  Heartless GOP would deny food to poor Americans, (0+ / 0-)

    it was voted down, great day for humanity.

  •  Oh yes, he "BEAT" the SNAP challenge. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Matt Z, New Rule, Odysseus

    What a lying asshole.  The food was "filling".  This was his criterion.  I could live on water for 3 days and have a headache.  I could then stuff myself with dozens of day-old bagels for under 2 dollars a dozen.  I would then be full.

    Very sustainable.  I would be so productive and contributing to society in a great way, I am sure.

    Ayn is the bane! Take the Antidote To Ayn Rand and call your doctor in the morning: You have health insurance now! @floydbluealdus1

    by Floyd Blue on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 04:55:34 AM PDT

  •  Whay are poor people complaining? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    anastasia p

    Soft serve cones are only 50 cents, YES, FIFTY CENTS!! at Burger King.  You could buy like 9 of those a day!!!  They are very filling and they make you happy!

    But you liberals, will, I am sure:  Have it your way.
    Have a nice day.

    Ayn is the bane! Take the Antidote To Ayn Rand and call your doctor in the morning: You have health insurance now! @floydbluealdus1

    by Floyd Blue on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 04:57:32 AM PDT

  •  I have participated in the SNAP Challenge (3+ / 0-)

    For the last two years, I have participated in a local version of the SNAP challenge, living on the average allocation for a work week.  I have found it barely possible to make meals the whole week, but it tends to be monotonous -- the same grain, the same (cheap) meat, the same vegetables.  I also find there is a definite difference between being no longer hungry, and being full.  

    During the challenge, I find myself feeling incomplete, and (of course) increasingly fixated on how much food I have and whether I can make it through the week.  Last year, my entire office participated.  By the end of the week we were all getting cranky and out of sorts, and that was before the coffee ran out.

    My sincere thanks to every member of Congress who honeslty participated in the SNAP challenge, and to all those who voted against this abomination of a Farm Bill.  Might I suggest that a "yes" vote on this travesty be weighted heavily against those so-called Democrats when they seek support for re-election?

  •  You can survive the SNAP challenge (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus

    if:
    * you are not in a food desert and can buy bulk food,
    * if you are educated enough to know what to buy in order to meet nutritional needs,
    * if you are living in a place where you can cook and are not dependent upon canned foods, and you can afford the gas to cook items like dried beans
    * if you are healthy enough to do all these activities
    * if you are very disciplined and not depressed or mentally ill

    Provided all those conditions apply, one can survive on $4.50 per day. Admittedly, it will be a lot of rice and beans with minimal animal protein, and a lot of seasonal vegetables.  But it is possible.

    Here's the problem:  If you meet all those criteria above, you probably don't need SNAP.  If you are educated, healthy, live in a neighborhood with real food, and are not depressed or otherwise functionally limited, chances are you are working and don't need the program.

    Now, surviving on SNAP in a food desert, with limited miobility and limited options for food preparation in the home... well, that's another matter entirely.

    “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” Charles Darwin

    by ivorybill on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 07:43:20 AM PDT

  •  Stock is both an asshole and an idiot (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus, anastasia p, suesue

    it's not surprising that he completely misunderstands the purpose of "stunts" like the SNAP Challenge.

    He basically sent his minion out to "prove" that people can eat on that amount of money. New flash, dickhead: millions of poor families "prove" that every single week.

    The purpose of the SNAP Challenge is to learn to identify with people who have less, and to get a SMALL taste of what it's like to live that way. It's designed to open the eyes of lawmakers and citizens to the challenges faced by the very poor, and in the process, it should make those people better at lawmaking. Even the SNAP Challenge doesn't provide a clear picture of what it's like to be on food stamps (for many reasons), and most people who take the Challenge understand that. But it makes them more empathetic if they are evolved human beings. And anything that aids in empathy is good.

    Stockman perverted the idea because he's too stupid to understand its purpose. We don't need you - or your taste-challenged shithead of a congressional aide - to demonstrate that it's possible to survive on a SNAP budget. Dickhead.

    "We forward in this generation, triumphantly."

    by Grizzard on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 07:50:02 AM PDT

    •  Stockman is too stupid to live (0+ / 0-)

      I'm actually surprised he is upright. He really gives Louie Gohmert at run for his money for the title of "Stupidest Texas Congressperson." And now there's that masturbating fetus guy ... tough competition!

      Ed FitzGerald for governor Of Ohio. Women's lives depend on it. http://www.edfitzgeraldforohio.com/

      by anastasia p on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 10:19:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Playing at Slumming (0+ / 0-)

    Look at Mayor Bloomberg's favorite tool, Robin Kelly, playing at slumming with her designer Coach handbag and St. John's Designer jacket and pantsuit.

    Limosine liberals always find a way to spend our money.

  •  GOP -- Greedy, Obstructionistic, and Petty (0+ / 0-)

    All of the recent remarks and antics by Ryan, Gohmert, Stockman, et al. simply provide additional evidence that the Congressional GOP doesn't give a crap about socio-economically disadvantaged American families -- their standard m.o. continues to be to use anecdotal examples and snarky retorts to legitimate concerns in a pathetic effort to justify their callous lack of empathy.

    Exhibit A -- at a time when there are a greater number of American families in poverty ... they suggest that it makes perfect sense to reduce the number of families that can qualify for food stamps and to slash the financial support provided to each of these struggling families.

    So do you feed the kids, pay the heating bill, or gas up the car (assuming that you even own one) so that you can go to work? Take your pick.

    Let us pause now for a moment of SCIENCE

    by labman57 on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 08:53:21 AM PDT

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site