The Democratic chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee says she is willing to consider higher cuts to the food stamp program in an effort to include a massive five-year farm bill in negotiations on the so-called fiscal cliff.
Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., said that cuts to the food stamp program beyond the $4 billion over 10 years included in a Senate-passed farm bill "are something I am willing to talk about." A farm bill passed by the House Agriculture Committee would include $16 billion in cuts over the same amount of time.
Both amounts are relatively small in relation to the program's total estimated cost - almost $800 billion over the next decade - but Stabenow's willingness to move on an issue long sacred to Democrats shows progress in negotiations as farm-state leaders scramble to get the bill done before the end of the year. Stabenow and House Agriculture Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., met this week in hopes of reconciling their two versions of the bill.
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