Senate Plan to Cut Food Stamps Dies

Associated Press
Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Senate Republicans have dropped plans to cut the popular food stamp program, as the chamber's leaders scrambled to assemble a $35 billion spending cut measure to implement the budget plan it adopted in April.

After protests from Agriculture Committee members Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) and James M. Talent (R-Mo.), panel Chairman Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) dropped more than $500 million in food stamp cuts from a farm and food subsidy measure coming to a committee vote today. The cuts could have meant a loss of benefits for 300,000 working families benefiting from more generous eligibility rules in some states.

The development on food stamps illustrates the political sensitivity of the upcoming debate over the spending cut bill, which would spread the $35 billion in cuts over five years. Various House and Senate committees are conducting behind-the-scenes talks to devise spending cut plans to implement the budget.

The conservative-dominated House plans to up the ante to $50 billion in cuts as it votes as early as tomorrow to revise the budget. The Senate has no such plans.

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