Agriculture

Food Stamp Costs Become Central Issue in Farm Bill

Efforts to trim costs after years of growth

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The U.S. House and Senate have crafted vastly different farm bills, and a well-known program that helps tens of millions of Americans put food on the table is a prominent sticking point between them.

That program is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly referred to as food stamps. And after years of recession-driven spending and enrollment growth, lawmakers in Washington are looking to pare it back.

The question is how much to cut, and how to do it. The House is looking to cut $20.5 billion from the program over the next decade, prompting the Obama administration to issue a veto threat. The Senate would cut $3.9 billion in the next 10 years. Both versions of the farm bill would significantly change the way states administer SNAP.