WASHINGTON, Jan. 9 (UPI) -- Lawmakers appear to have reached a deal on cuts to the U.S. food stamp program, The New York Times reported Thursday.
The Times said people briefed about the talks indicate the deal calls for $9 billion in cuts over 10 years to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The cuts are more than double the $4 billion authorized by the Senate but much less than the $40 billion in cuts authorized by the House.
The food stamp issue has been a stumbling block in negotiations on a new farm bill, along with issues over milk pricing and transferring the inspection of catfish farms from the Agriculture Department to the Food and Drug Administration.
House Speaker John A. Boehner has voiced strong opposition to the dairy program, which limits dairy supplies to boost the price of milk.
Boehner said Thursday he is confident the compromise farm bill "will not include supply management in the dairy program," Roll Call reported. The Times said Boehner has described the program as "Soviet-style" bureaucracy.
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., says the Agriculture Department's catfish program wastes millions dollars and duplicates seafood inspections performed by the FDA
In a letter Wednesday to the Senate Agriculture Committee, McCain said "the true purpose of the catfish program is to artificially support domestic catfish farmers by erecting regulatory hurdles against foreign catfish importers at the expense of the American taxpayer."