Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI) today joined several of his Democratic colleagues in announcing his participation in the SNAP Challenge. Under the challenge, which was designed to protest nutrition assistance cuts proposed in the Republican Farm Bill, participating members will limit their food budgets to $4.50 per day, the amount a person receives from the food stamp program.
Next week, the House is scheduled to vote on a wide-ranging reauthorization of the Farm Bill. Among other changes, the House version of the bill would cut the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by $20 billion over 10 years. This cut would come on top of already-scheduled reductions to the food stamp program necessitated by the budget sequestration.
"In the wealthiest nation in human history, it is unconscionable that every American cannot afford life's basic necessities," said Langevin at a press conference at the Capitol announcing the SNAP Challenge effort. "I am proud to join my colleagues participating in the SNAP challenge. Every member of Congress should know what it's like to live on $4.50 per day, to know the pain of going to bed hungry, and to understand the full gravity of the decisions we make. When you take food off of the plates of hungry children, you have a moral obligation to understand the consequences."
Nearly thirty members of the House Democratic Caucus are planning to participate in the SNAP Challenge. Langevin will take the challenge next Tuesday, June 18, as the House prepares to consider the Farm Bill.
"The Farm Bill before the House next week takes the draconian step of cutting SNAP benefits to millions of needy Americans, forcing them to choose between food and other vital needs," continued Langevin. "The Senate has managed to achieve many of the same goals with one-fourth the cuts. I urge my House colleagues to take their lead and recognize that there has to be a better way to achieve the savings we need."