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matsuidinner.jpgThree days and $13.37 later, Rep. Doris Matsui of Sacramento said she was struck by how challenging it was to eat properly on a food-stamp budget.

Matsui was among 30 House Democrats who took part in the SNAP Challenge to protest cuts in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program proposed in Congress. She and her colleagues lived on the average benefit of $4.50 a day.

"While this was temporary for me, it is reality for the millions of Americans who are never sure where their next meal will come from," Matsui wrote on her Facebook page. "As we debate the Farm Bill in the House this week I will continue to oppose outlandish cuts to the SNAP program."

What was on the menu: Bread, pasta, Ramen noodles, canned peaches, American cheese, eggs and coffee.

What wasn't: Meat or fresh fruits and fresh vegetables except broccoli.

Matsui began her challenge Thursday and concluded it Saturday. On the last day, she made French toast - and used the canned peach juice in place of syrup.

"I was struck by how challenging it was to find foods that would fit the tight budget and also provide meals for the three days," she said.

A Senate-passed version of the farm bill would cut $400 million a year from food assistance over a decade. The Republican-majority House of Representatives is considering even deeper cuts - $2 billion a year over 10 years.

Matsui said such cuts would deprive 2 million Americans of food assistance and 200,000 children of school lunches.

"This is unconscionable," she said.

PHOTO: From Rep. Doris Matsui's Facebook page, her dinner of pasta with broccoli, cheese toast and water.



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