May 22, 2007
No More Ramen. Lattes all around! The four House Members who ate for a week on the amount of funds that food-stamp recipients in their states receive are no doubt relieved that their week of eating frugally is over.
The exercise concluded last night, much to the relief of Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), who finished his week of lentil-eating a little lighter. “As of last Friday, he had lost three pounds in three days, “ spokesman Michael Mershon said. “He said he hasn’t been complaining because he knows he’ll be able to eat a really big breakfast Tuesday, unlike a lot of people on food stamps.”
Another hardship McGovern encountered: caffeine deprivation. The Massachusetts Democrat could afford only a small package of joe on his $42 food budget, which included food for himself and his wife, Lisa. It was enough for two cups on Saturday and two cups on Sunday, but the java-addicted (and who on the Hill isn’t?) Congressman had to do without all week, since the rules of the challenge prohibited him from partaking of any free food, including the gratis coffee available in most offices.
Other Members who tried out the food-stamp diet included Reps. Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.), Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) and Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.). McGovern and Emerson are sponsoring legislation to boost the amount set aside for the food-stamp program when the farm bill is reauthorized this summer.