Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) on Thursday held up steak, vodka and caviar during her House floor speech in an effort to shame Republicans who want to slash $40 billion from the food stamp budget, while they continue to go on “lavish” trips financed by taxpayers and other groups.
Earlier this month, House Republicans introduced a bill that caved to conservative members and doubled the amount of cuts the party was proposing to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
“In my district, California 14, we have about 4,000 families who are on food stamps, but some of my colleagues have thousands and thousands more,” Speier explained on Thursday. “Yet, they somehow feel like crusaders, like heroes when they vote to cut food stamps. Some of these same members travel to foreign countries under the guise of official business.”
“They dine at lavish restaurants, eating steak, vodka and even caviar,” she added, showing food props to members of the House. “They receive money to do this. That’s right, they don’t pay out of pocket for these meals.”
“Let me give you a few examples: One member was given $127.41 a day for food on his trip to Argentina. He probably had a fair amount of steak,” the California Democrat continued. “Another member was given $3,588 for food and lodging during a six-day trip to Russia. He probably drank a fair amount of vodka and probably even had some caviar. That particular member has 21,000 food stamp recipients in his district. One of those people who is on food stamps could live a year on what this congressman spent on food and lodging for six days.”
Speier was most likely referring to Rep. Steve King (R-IA), who traveled to Russia with an official U.S. Congressional delegation in September.
According to the Des Moines Register, King could have eaten for 881 days on food stamps for the $3,588 he spent during six-day trip to Russia.
Speier noted that Panera Bread CEO Ron Shaich was taking the “SNAP Challenge” by trying to live on the $4.50 a day allotted to food stamp recipients.
“I wonder how many of my Republican colleagues would want to cut food stamps if they had taken the SNAP Challenge,” she wondered. “After all, that means no more steak, no more caviar or vodka. Based on these members eating habits, I wonder if they could survive.”
Watch the video below from C-SPAN, broadcast Sept. 19, 2013.
David Edwards has served as an editor at Raw Story since 2006. His work can also be found at Crooks & Liars, and he's also been published at The BRAD BLOG. He came to Raw Story after working as a network manager for the state of North Carolina and as as engineer developing enterprise resource planning software. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidEdwards.
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