(WASHINGTON) -- Calling proposals to cut food stamp funding “tearing the safety net to shreds,” Rep. Joe Courtney decided one week ago that it wasn’t enough just to disagree.
For the past week and concluding on Wednesday, Courtney, D-Conn., along with his wife Audrey and 16-year-old daughter Elizabeth, have been living on a food stamp budget, experiencing what little can actually be bought for $32.59 per person, per week -- or $1.59 per meal -- and blogging and tweeting about the process.
The week is called taking the “SNAP Challenge” after the national food stamp program run through the U.S. Department of Agriculture -- the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program -- that provides low-income households with healthful foods within reach out of their budgets.
Citing proposals submitted to a congressional debt-reduction supercommittee to decrease funding for SNAP, as well as outspoken Rep. Paul Ryan’s, R-Wis., budget plan and the cuts it would bring, Courtney said, “People [have got] to remember we’re going through an economy with 9 percent unemployment. … When that happens, really by and large, the only public assistance that is left is SNAP.”
Courtney added that “the reality of people depending on SNAP is obvious in the near future, and going backwards is going to be … a real strain on the safety net.”
ABC News spoke to the Congressman while he was on his third cup of tea Wednesday morning with the same tea bag.
Saying that the week has been “harder” than he had imagined, he added, “You definitely learn some of these tricks to stretch your $4-a-day allotment.”
In addition to shopping at different supermarkets than usual to find better deals, he cited switching from whole grain to white tortillas for enchiladas, buying produce of a lesser quality as long as it was cheaper, and going a bit hungry just to stretch the money out throughout the week.
Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio