Politics

Rep. Steve Stockman: If You Can’t Survive on Food Stamps You’re ‘Intentionally Buying Overpriced Food’

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht
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Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Texas) issued a press release Tuesday stating that Democrats attempting to prove that cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistant Program (SNAP) would leave families unable to feed themselves are “intentionally buying overpriced food and shopping at high-priced chains.”

There 47 million Americans enrolled in SNAP. The average benefit is $4.50 a day, or $31.50 a week.

According to ThinkProgress, more than 26 members of Congress are participating in the SNAP Challenge, attempting to live off on a food stamp budget for a week. Stockman’s office called the challenge a “left wing publicity stunt.”

Stockman’s aide, Donny Ferguson, said he took the challenge and had no trouble feeding himself on $4.50 a day. Ferguson said by the end of the week he spent almost $4 less than the SNAP Challenge required.

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Stockman’s office believe the program’s budget should be cut even more.

“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.”

Ferguson’s grocery list, for some reason, didn’t include any meat. Instead, it was full of sugary items, the leading cause of Type II diabetes:

  • 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
  • Gallon milk
  • Box of instant oatmeal

As noted by Raw Story, Ferguson claimed that people on food stamps aren’t buying fast food because it’s the only thing they can afford. “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,” he said.

According to ThinkProgress a study from the Institute of Medicine showed “low-income and minority populations are more likely than other groups to experience limited access to supermarkets and other large retail outlets.”

The study said families lack reliable transportation and time to produce meals from scratch, and “SNAP participants who live in locales with higher food prices find it difficult to meet their needs with the current benefit.”

Sources: ThinkProgress, Raw Story