Politics

Republican Aide who Promoted Billion-Dollar Cuts to Food Stamps Fails to Live on Program

| by Amanda Schallert
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A Republican senator’s aide fell short of proving his point — that food stamps provide individuals with more than enough food to live on — when he failed to live by the SNAP Challenge's budget for just one week. 

Prompted by the push for a recent Senate Bill that would cut $4 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, 25 Democrats in Congress chose to live on food stamps — or take the “SNAP Challenge” — to showcase the insufficiencies of the current food stamp program and protest the proposed decrease in its budget, according to Think Progress. 

As of now, the program serves 47 million people and costs about $80 billion. 

Donny Ferguson, aide to Steve Stockman, a Republican senator, claimed Democrats who took the challenge and deemed the food stamp diet as lacking standard nutritional needs chose to purchase their food at overpriced grocery markets, dismissing their actions as a misrepresentation of the program, according to the Huffington Post.

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But after living on an average of $4.50 of food a day for a few days, Ferguson decided to exceed the budget he had planned for himself when he bought extra food because he was travelling. Ferguson was unable to carry canned goods onto his plane, so he went over his predicted expenses by about 14 percent.

Ferguson’s attempt at the challenge reflected the difficulties of adjusting to unexpected events in daily life, as an individual who does not have extra money to spend on food because he or she is travelling would have to go hungry. His decision to exceed his budget once something went wrong in his week demonstrates a point opposite to what he initially set off to prove. 

Apparently not joking, Ferguson now calls himself the “Undisputed Food Stamp Champion” and has suggested that cuts proposed to the food stamp program should run deeper. 

Sources: Huffington Post, Think Progress