Democratic Rep. Jackie Speier decided to make an unconventional pitch on the House of Representatives floor Thursday to defend food stamps. Speier used a cooked steak, a bottle of vodka, and a can of caviar to point out members of Congress who had large numbers of SNAP program recipients in their districts but opposed the program. The Congresswoman pointed out many of the same members of Congress took trips around the world with large stipends for food and lodging.
“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,” Rep. Speier said. “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. They receive money to do this. That’s right, they don’t pay out of pocket for these meals.”
Speier went on, using particular examples of members of Congress who went on sponsored trips and spent large amounts of money on food and lodging.
“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 fare amount of steak,” she said.
“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,” she added.
Jackie Speier is a badass, and these congressmen do not intimidate her. She’s seen some shit. Witness this from her Wikipedia page:
“Speier served as a congressional staffer for Congressman Leo Ryan. Speier was part of the November 1978 fact-finding mission to investigate allegations of human rights abuses by the Reverend Jim Jones and his Peoples Temple followers, almost all of whom were American citizens who had moved to Jonestown, Guyana, with Jones in 1977 and 1978. Speier was one of only two members of the mission who were concerned enough about potential violence to make out a will before traveling to Jonestown.Several Peoples Temple members ambushed the investigative team and others boarding the plane to leave Jonestown on November 18. Five people died, including Congressman Ryan. While attempting to shield herself from rifle and shotgun fire behind small airplane wheels with the other members of the team, Speier was shot five times and waited 22 hours before help arrived. The murder of Congressman Ryan was the only assassination of a Congressman in the line of duty in the history of the United States. That same day, over 900 of the remaining members of the Peoples Temple died in Jonestown and Georgetown.”
“Since Friday morning, a police officer was gunned down in Memphis, leaving four children without their mother. Two officers were killed outside a grocery store in Topeka. A woman was shot and killed inside a Las Vegas casino. Three people were shot inside an Alabama hospital. A four-year-old was caught in a drive-by in Missouri and taken off life support just yesterday. Each one of these Americans was a victim of the everyday gun violence that takes the lives of more than 10,000 Americans every year — violence that we cannot accept as routine.”
“This may be a moment in Senate history, when a senator made a proposal that, when given an opportunity for a vote on that proposal, filibustered his own proposal…I don’t think this has ever happened before.”
ABC’s Diane Sawyer talks to Bob Woodward about his new book inside last summer’s debt ceiling crisis.
“It’s so serious that they couldn’t tell the world how bad it was at the time.”
- -6 Obama’s net favorability, as of this month
- -7 The Democratic Party’s favorability
- -25 The Republican Party’s favorability source
» Why no love for the GOP? Over the last six months, everybody—Obama, Democrats, and Republicans—has seen a net drop in their approval ratings, but Republicans are clearly the most hated of the bunch. This is probably due to a combination of factors: Paul Ryan’s budget proposal, Scott Walker’s anti-union antics in Wisconsin, and the GOP’s handling of the debt ceiling debate were all high-profile issues that attracted (mostly) negative attention to the GOP. Whatever the cause, there’s one thing we can glean from these results: Democrats seem to be out-messaging Republicans in 2011. Whether or not this can carry Obama to reelection amidst a horrible economy remains to be seen.
“About 60 percent of the members of the House of Representatives are not holding free and open town hall meetings during the six-week congressional recess this summer, a survey by the nonpartisan group No Labels has found.”
Well, that didn’t last long