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House panel to take up GOP food stamp cuts

April 16, 2012 at 8:49 PM

WASHINGTON, April 16 (UPI) -- U.S. House Republicans Monday introduced food stamp spending cuts as part of a plan to cut domestic spending by hundreds of billions of dollars.

The House Agriculture Committee is to take up the food stamps cuts Wednesday and the outcome could have an impact on the long-term unemployed, the farm bill debate and the November elections, Politico reported.

In an attempt to head off scheduled mandatory defense spending cuts in January, Republicans are looking for domestic spending cuts, including cuts in the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program during the next 10 years, the report said.

If enacted, the cuts would reduce monthly benefits for a family of four by 11 percent this summer, and would impose more stringent enforcement of rules requiring households to go through most of their savings to qualify for SNAP assistance.

Federal spending on food stamps soared following the economic slowdown that began in 2008. SNAP rolls grew to 46.4 million people in January, up almost two-thirds from 2008 levels. The increase in monthly benefits provided for in the stimulus bill is scheduled to be phased out by November 2013 but the bill to be heard in committee Wednesday would roll back the increase effective Sept. 1, a little less than two months before the elections.

The federal spending provided some relief to governors, who were able to use state funds for purposes other than providing nutritional assistance, Politico said.

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