In a press release on Tuesday, Conservative Representative Steve Stockman said that SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) is providing recipients with too many benefits.
Now with the Senate advancing a farm bill on Friday, that would cut $4 billion from SNAP these benefits are on the chopping block. The House of Representatives will also be voting on cutting 2.5 percent from the program, which would leave about 2 million families without food assistance.
In response to these policies some 26 members of congress are taking on the “SNAP Challenge.” The challenge is to live off a food stamp budget for a week. The goal is to raise awareness about the inadequacies of the system, which according to congress’s data provides a benefit of $4.50 per day to that 47 million Americans who are currently enrolled in the program.
However, Stockman claims that those taking on the SNAP challenge have “debunked” their effort and are “intentionally buying overpriced food and shopping at high priced chains to make it appear the cuts go to far.”
Donny Ferguson the communications director and agriculture policy advisor in Stockman’s office took on the challenge and was able to purchase enough food to last him a week. He spent just $27.58, four dollars less than the average $31.50 SNAP challenge figure.
Ferguson said, “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.”
He went on to explain his shopping methods saying, “I didn’t use coupons, I didn’t compare prices and was buying for one, instead of a family. I could have bought even more food per person if I were splitting $126 four ways, instead of budgeting $31.50 to eat for one” said Ferguson. “I could have bought cheaper vegetables instead of prepared red beans and rice, but I like red beans and rice. Folks aren’t buying fast food instead of vegetables because of benefit limits, they’re buying fast food because fast food tastes great and vegetables taste like vegetables.”