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Inside Report (5)

Can the Reagan administration really cut $2.5 billion from next year's food-stamp program? Surprisingly, the main obstacle to the cut may not come from food-stamp recipients themselves. That group now stands at 22 million people -- with another 100,000 added whenever unemployment rises by one-tenth of 1 percent. Analysts say these recipients could bear the cut, which would mean reducing their average benefit per meal from 40 cents to 30 cents.

But the so-called "farm bloc" may not be so receptive, despite its public call for food- stamp cuts. Farmers have grown smaller in numbers but have consolidated their power by striking bargains with big-city interests. Providing food stamps for the urban poor has become one of the accepted costs of preserving farm price-support programs.

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A new vote comes in Congress on these programs this year and support from urban congressman will be vital.m