House Democrats are standing in the face of derogatory images conjured of food stamp recipients as "welfare queens," "takers," or even as the "47%," by joining the challenge of living on just $4.50 a day for food in hopes to expose the GOP's proposed callous cuts to programs that millions of Americans rely on.
House Republicans are poised to pass a bill that would cut more than $20 billion from the food stamp program, known as SNAP—Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program–which aids families across the nation with the small assistance they desperately need to put food n the table. Those cuts would take away benefits from 2 million Americans.
To highlight their opposition to those cuts, 26 House Democrats are taking the food stamp challenge to prove just how paltry that assistance already is. The challenge entails living on just $31.50 a week for food, making it hard to get three square meals a day, much less healthy ones.
One of those Democrats is Congressman Hank Johnson from Georgia who took to the House floor this week with a bag of grocery to explain how he'll be feeding himself for a week on a SNAP-like budget, pulling out bacon, waffles, and ramen noodles, and admitting he'll probably only eat two meals a day.
"The problem is that we have so many millionaires over there on the other side of the aisle that they will never have to worry about where their next meal is coming from or trying to stretch dollars so that they can eat," he said on Thursday's PoliticsNation.
"Many of the people who receive food stamps are employed," he said. "They're working as much as they can, but they're working for minimum wage, they can't make ends meet, and they need the food stamps to help."
"To take $20 billion dollars away from this program which serves as a safety net for 40 million Americans is just callous," he added.
The cuts to SNAP are likely to disproportionately impact children, who make up 45% of all food stamp recipients.
Lawmakers participating in the food stamp challenge:
Congressman John Carney (D, DE)
Congressman Matthew Cartwright (D, PA-17)
Congressman Jim Crowley (D, NY-14)
Congressman Peter DeFazio (D, OR-04)
Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (D-WA-01)
Congressman Theodore Deutch (D, FL-21)
Congressman Keith Ellison (D, MN-05)
Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham (D, NM-01)
Congressman Hank Johnson (D, GA-04)
Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes-Norton (D-DC)
Congressman Jared Huffman (D, CA-02)
Congresswoman Robin Kelly (D, IL-02)
Congressman Daniel Kildee (D, MI-05)
Congresswoman Ann Kuster (D, NH-02)
Congressman James Langevin (D, RI-02)
Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D, CA-13)
Congressman Sander Levin (D, MI-09)
Congresswoman Doris Matsui (D, CA-06)
Congressman Jim McGovern (D, MA-02)
Congressman Richard Nolan (D, MN-08)
Congressman Beto O'Rourke (D, TX-16)
Congressman Donald Payne, Jr. (D, NJ-10)
Congressman Mark Pocan (D, WI-02)
Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D, IL-09)
Congressman Marc Veasey (D, TX-33)
Congressman Melvin Watt (D, NC-12)