There are some things that President Donald Trump's administration is absolutely clear about, like the rhetoric that Americans are not entirely entitled to universal health care, that an overhaul of the education system should favor expensive private schools that lean towards a certain ideology and that women should not be allowed to make decisions about their own bodies.
It seems like some GOP congressmen are also confused about whether every American has the right to eat.
Now, it is easy to see why this question must be baffling for a few people. After all, how can every American, even those who do not earn sufficient amount of money, which is essentially a social construct, have access to something as vital as food?
This debate flared up again during an interview of GOP Congressman Adrian Smith.
NPR's Scott Simon, during the interview, quizzed Smith on Trump's plans to cut the budget of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), more commonly known as the food stamps.
Smith chose to not give a clear answer and continued to speak in vague terms about the future of the program in America, suggesting any "minor shifts" in SNAP would "not harm the most vulnerable among us."
“Especially for people in need we do not want to leave our most vulnerable without nutrition,” he said. “Looking at that, we always want to keep that in mind.”
However, Simon had an important question for him.
“Let me ask you this bluntly: Is every American entitled to eat?” the reporter asked.
“Well, nutrition obviously we know is very important and I would hope that we can look to ...” Smith responded.
Simon did not fall for the trap.
“Well, not just important, it’s essential for life,” he intervened before repeating his question. “So is every American entitled to eat and is food stamps something that ought to be that ultimate guarantor?”
It was a straightforward query, but Smith's answer remained just as ambiguous.
“I think we know that given the necessity of nutrition, there could be a number of ways that we could address that,” the congressman supplied.
Smith later said any cuts the president propose are not final but will be discussed by the Congress. Even then, he refused to be clear on his priorities.
“I want to look at our entire budget, look at all of the details,” he said.
At this point, 43 million Americans are on food stamps, although the number has seen a sharp decline after 2014 as the recession receded. The new administration is currently debating a cut of $193 billion over ten years, which is approximately 25 percent of the total SNAP budget.
Banner/thumbnail credit: Reuters