Congress to begin talks on food stamps, farm aid

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    WASHINGTON (AP) — House and Senate negotiators are set to begin crafting a compromise farm bill, including cuts to the food stamp program.

    The talks open Wednesday afternoon, just two days before food stamp recipients will see a separate, unrelated cut in their monthly benefits. On Friday, a temporary benefit from the 2009 stimulus that boosted food stamp dollars will expire.

    According to the Agriculture Department, that means a family of four receiving food stamps will receive $36 less a month.

    Food stamps now cost almost $80 billion a year. The House farm bill would cut food stamps by $4 billion annually and change eligibility and work requirements. The Senate bill would cut a tenth of that amount.

    The five-year farm bill totals about $500 billion.

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