Man, Congressional Republicans really do have it in for the food stamp program, don't they? They've tried to slash its funding. They've nixed it entirely from the Farm Bill. And at the moment, they seem to be toying with the idea of letting states create new work requirements for beneficiaries, which is a nice way of saying "kick more people off food stamps."
All of this is happening at a time when some 47 million people in the U.S. have come to rely on food stamps -- or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program as it's technically called -- to feed themselves. (If that number sounds high to you, just remember, there are more than 46 million Americans living below the poverty line.) That got us wondering: Just how many of their own constituents are Republicans essentially telling to go hungry nowadays? After all, food stamp recipients are spread across red and blue states alike, with some of the highest concentrations in the ever-conservative Southeast.
And hey, it's not as if only liberals ever need help paying for a meal.
To get an answer, we dug through Census data* on the number of food stamp recipients in each House district in the 112th Congress, which was in session from January 2011 until January 2013, then compared areas represented by Democrats and Republicans (check out the spreadsheet here). What we found wasn't necessarily shocking, but it was instructive. Republicans tend to represent plenty of food stamp recipients, but unlike many Democrats, not nearly so many that they'd ever have to worry about them at the polls.