Rep. Doris Matsui of Sacramento on Wednesday pledged to spend only $13.50 on food the next three days, joining nearly 30 of her fellow House Democrats in protest of cuts to the federal food stamp program.
The Senate on Monday approved a 10-year, $955 billion farm bill that includes a $400 million a year cut to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. A House proposal would cut the program by $2 billion a year.
Matsui said via Facebook and Twitter that 200,000 residents of Sacramento County rely on food assistance and that she'd take part in the "SNAP Challenge" and live off the average benefit of $4.50 a day.
"Feeding a family on SNAP is already challenging, and these cuts would make it even harder," Matsui wrote on her Facebook page. "That is why I am taking the SNAP Challenge to raise awareness of hunger in our nation and to highlight the importance of SNAP."
According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the food stamp program helped 45 million low-income Americans in 2011. Nearly half of the recipients of food assistance are children, and nearly 1 in 5 are elderly.
Northern California Reps. Barbara Lee of Oakland and Jared Huffman of San Rafael are also participating. Lee will live on a $4.50 daily food budget for an entire week.
PHOTO: Rep. Doris Matsui listens to a speaker after U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer took a tour of the new terminal construction at the Sacramento International Aiport on Wednesday, June 7, 2010. The Sacramento Bee/Hector Amezcua