We saw Tianna Gaines-Turner on Melissa Harris-Perry before. Formerly homeless and still receiving SNAP benefits, Gaines-Turner is notable on the Sunday shows for being the incredibly rare exception to the rule: a person who is actually impacted by the benefits that the Villagers love to demand as a sacrifice to the altar of the 1%.
Melissa Harris-Perry asked on her show both Gaines-Turner and Rep. Barbara Lee, who sits on the House Budget Committee with chairman Paul Ryan, and Lee promised Gaines-Turner that she would ask Ryan to invite her to speak before the committee before they move forward with their recommendations for cuts to SNAP and other forms of public assistance.
The list of witnesses on the House Budget committee’s website currently has only four names, and none of the those scheduled are currently dealing with poverty.
Lee, who spoke on the show about her own experience living on public assistance in the 1970s, supports maintaining and expanding the social safety net for those Americans “who need the support from their government so they can live the American Dream.”
I don't think it will happen either. But I want to document it here so that when Ryan ignores Rep. Lee, as he most assuredly will, and declines to hear from anyone actually impacted by his Ayn Randian zeal to cut benefits, you can link to this post on Ryan's Facebook and Congressional pages.
But don't neglect to mention this astonishing fact: While Ryan sits in his plush Congressional offices debating whether a measly $278.48 per month per household is encouraging indolence amongst the undeserving, Ryan and his colleagues enjoy the perks of coffee and food provided to them, courtesy of the American taxpayers, equalling $383 per member per month.
I really do believe that every single Congressional member must be required to take the Food Stamp Challenge before voting on cuts.