Huffman chewing on $4.50 a day

06/20/2013

Congressman Jared Huffman hasn’t yet gone hungry during a five-day protest against cuts proposed by the House to the national Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program—but he’s concerned about the health value of living off of peanut-butter sandwiches, rice and beans. Mr. Huffman is one of about two dozen House Democrats limiting their food spending to $4.50 per day this week in an effort to portray the average SNAP recipient’s current benefits as austere enough. The House bill’s proposed $20 billion in cuts to the program would push out nearly 2 million low-income recipients and eliminate free or reduced-cost lunches to 210,000 school children, Mr. Huffman said. In place of those cuts, he would pare down the huge agricultural subsidies given to the Midwest and the South, which could also level the playing field for organic agriculture, Mr. Huffman told the Light. He urged constituents to weigh in when both the House and Senate bills—the latter cuts only $4 billion from the program—go into conference committee. For his part, eating on a tighter budget has also taught Mr. Huffman a bit about basic cooking. “You have to be creative, and you have to plan ahead,” he said on Tuesday. “Last night I was going to have beans and rice and a little bit of chicken, and reading the instructions, I learned that brown rice takes about 45 minutes to cook.” He had a strip of chicken with pasta and ragù instead.