US House panel to OK small food stamp cuts

MARY CLARE JALONICK, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House Agriculture Committee has begun work on a five-year farm bill that would make small cuts to the $80 billion-a-year food stamp program.

The panel is making the cuts to appease conservatives who say the food aid has become too expensive. The legislation would cut about $2.5 billion a year, or 3 percent, to the program, now known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. The legislation would achieve the cuts partly by eliminating "broad-based categorical eligibility," or automatic food stamp benefits when people sign up for other programs.

The farm bill costs almost $100 billion annually and would set policy for farm subsidies, rural programs and the food aid. The House panel is considering the legislation Wednesday, one day after the Senate Agriculture Committee approved its version

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