Nebraska Democratic Party Chair Jane Kleeb is challenging Rep. Adrian Smith to the Food Stamp Challenge given his shocking comments last week refusing to say Americans are entitled to eat. The Food Stamp Challenge gives elected officials an opportunity to understand how difficult it is to get by on food stamps (roughly $1.00 a meal). Many elected officials have taken this challenge to get a small sense of what citizens struggling to make ends meet face on a daily basis.
Given the massive cuts to the Food Stamp program in Trump’s cruel budget—over $190 billion while giving millionaires a tax cut of $2 trillion—Rep. Smith must address why he is so out of touch.
NPR’s Scott Simon, a genial interviewer, asked Rep. Adrian Smith (R-Neb.), a member of the Ways and Means Committee and an influential figure on agriculture policy, about Trump’s proposal to make vast cuts to food stamps.
Smith posited that the program could be cut in ways that “do not harm the most vulnerable.”
“Well, let me ask you this bluntly: Is every American entitled to eat?” Simon queried.
Smith was stumped. “Well, they — nutrition, obviously, we know is very important. And I would hope that we can look to — ”
Simon interrupted: “Well, not just important, it’s essential for life. Is every American entitled to eat?”
Smith agreed that nutrition “is essential” but continued to ignore the question about whether Americans are entitled to eat.
Simon tried a third time: “So is every American entitled to eat, and is food stamps something that ought to be that ultimate guarantor?”
Once again, the lawmaker demurred: “I think that we know that, given the necessity of nutrition, there could be a number of ways that we could address that.”
There was more, but it all came down to this: In the United States, in 2017, a powerful member of Congress refuses to grant that Americans should be able to count on eating food.