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Why House wants to cut $4 billion from food stamps program

One in 7 Americans now receive food stamps, or 47 million people. But the House is expected to vote for a 5 percent cut in the food stamp (SNAP) program Thursday.

Why House wants to cut food stamps funding
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The House is poised to vote on cutting nearly $4 billion a year from food stamp assistance, now used by 1 in 7 Americans.

House Republican leaders were still working for support as they scheduled a vote on the measure for Thursday. Some GOP moderates questioned the 5 percent cut to the almost $80 billion-a-year program as Democrats united strongly against it.

The bill's savings would be achieved by allowing states to put broad new work requirements in place for many food stamp recipients and to test applicants for drugs. The bill also would end government waivers that have allowed able-bodied adults who don't have dependents to receive food stamps indefinitely.

Conservatives have said the program has become bloated. More than 47 million Americans are now on food stamps, and the program's cost more than doubled in the last five years as the economy struggled through the Great Recession.

Finding a compromise — and the votes — to scale back the feeding program has been difficult. Conservatives have insisted on larger cuts, Democrats have opposed any cuts, and moderate Republicans from areas with high food stamp usage have been wary of efforts to slim the program.

"I think the cuts are too drastic and too draconian," said Rep. Michael Grimm, R-N.Y., who plans to vote against the bill. He represents Staten Island, which was hard hit by Hurricane Sandy last year. "Those that really need the program will suffer," he said.

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