Democratic Reps. Jan Schakowsky, Tim Ryan, and Keith Ellison are leading the charge in the House, with additional help from Ted Strickland, the former governor of Ohio and current president of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. And those public officials participating insist that experiences like these are valuable for relating to constituents.
"We need to try to experience, at least for a week, what life is really like. We can't do that totally, obviously—we'd have to change our entire lifestyles
," Strickland said on a media conference call Monday. "But at least those of us who are engaged in this effort will be able to experience at some level what it must be like for people who live week after week and month after month working really hard and just struggling to keep their nose above the water line."