A GOP staffer declared victory Sunday over the “SNAP Challenge,” or a week living on a food stamp budget of $4.50 a day.
“Nothing tastes better than debunking liberalism,” Donny Ferguson, communications director and agriculture policy advisor for Texas Republican Rep. Steve Stockman, said in a statement. “I proved there’s still lots of room to cut unsustainable welfare spending and still have filling, delicious meals.”
Ferguson announced his participation in the SNAP Challenge last week, after dozens of Democratic House members protested cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or food stamps, in the House farm bill. The bill ultimately failed last week in large part due to disagreements over the cuts to SNAP.
“The SNAP Challenge is a great tool to show how much savings we can find in the budget,” said Ferguson. “The only thing Democrats proved is they can’t budget or control spending. Their only defense is to trash the SNAP Challenge as an unrealistic publicity stunt.”
Ferguson, however, did go slightly over budget in his food purchasing. Ferguson bought $27.58 worth of food to last him a week (less than the $31.50 House Democrats attempted to live within), but then unplanned travel the last two days resulted in his purchase of another $6.70 worth of food (less than the $4.50 per day allotment), for a total of $33.28 spent on food.
Ferguson’s office says he only ate $26.40 worth of the food he purchased for the week. All his remaining untouched food, his office explained, will be donated to an area food bank.
“I cut the SNAP Challenge Budget by about 16 percent without the hysterics of overdramatic political activists agitating for more government control,” Ferguson, whose office said he gained one pound and lost one pound of body fat, said. “The proposed Food Stamp Bill didn’t cut spending, it dramatically increases it. Overall spending on food stamps would have skyrocketed well beyond the increased rates of suffering we’ve seen under Obama.”
With so many lawmakers participating in the program in recent days to simulate what it is like to live on food stamps, the Washington Post noted that many lawmakers were offering a misleading representation of how the program is intended to work.
“[B]uying food based only on the average SNAP benefit for a single person gives a misleading impression of the program and its intended impact,” Glenn Kessler, author the Washington Post’s Fact Checker column, wrote Thursday. “The SNAP program is intended as a supplement; it is not expected to be the only source of income for food. Various reports have indicated that it has had a positive impact, in particular in raising families out of poverty and helping people pay nonfood bills. By suggesting that SNAP is intended to be the only source of food income, even if some recipients use it in that way, lawmakers stretch the purpose of the program.”
Kessler gave the SNAP Challenge two Pinocchios.