Congress should use money from its food stamp budget and Planned Parenthood funding to pay for a wall along the border between the United States and Mexico, Rep. Steve King said Wednesday.
The House appropriations committee released its homeland security bill on Tuesday, which includes the full $1.6 billion requested by the Office of Management and Budget to begin construction on a southern border wall. The Iowa Republican, however, wants to more than triple taxpayer dollars spent on the wall.
"Are you comfortable, congressman, with providing $1.6 billion of taxpayer money, not from Mexico, to build that wall?" CNN's Alisyn Camerota asked on "New Day."
"Absolutely, yes and more," he replied. "And I'd throw another $5 billion on the pile and I would find half a billion of that from right out of Planned Parenthood's budget. And the rest of it could come out of food stamps and the entitlements that are being spread out for people who haven't worked in three generations."
The lawmaker said the government needs to "ratchet back down" the number of Americans on food stamps. More than 40 million Americans receive food stamps, and nearly two-thirds of them are children, elderly or disabled. The average household on food stamps had income of less than $10,000 a year.
"I wouldn't impose anything more strict on anybody in America than what (former first lady) Michelle Obama did with her school lunch program. So, I would just say let's limit to that," King said.
"But we've seen this go from 19 million people now on the SNAP program up to 47 million people on the SNAP program," he added. "I'm sure that all of them didn't need it. So, we need to set this down and ratchet it back down again."
A document circulated on Capitol Hill in May said that a White House budget proposal would slash $193 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) also known as food stamps. A CNN analysis found that of the top 10 places with the largest percentage of residents who use SNAP, seven voted for Trump in the 2016 elections.
"We built the programs because to solve the problem of malnutrition in America," said King, who backed Trump in 2016. "Now we have a problem of obesity. When you match up the EBT card with what the scales say on some of the folks, I think its worth looking at."
"Michelle Obama looked at it. Republicans should be able to look at it too," he added.
More than 2 billion adults and children globally are overweight or obese and suffer health problems because of their weight, according to the New England Journal of Medicine, with the United States having the greatest percentage (13%) of obese children and young adults.
The "Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act" legislation spearheaded by the former first lady in response to America's childhood obesity problem was regularly criticized by Republicans and her efforts may be in jeopardy under the Trump administration. The School Nutrition Association, a lobbying group, released recommendations in March to scale back federal nutrition standards set under the Obama administration.