The House Agriculture Committee has approved a five-year farm and nutrition bill that gives farmers new ways to protect themselves from adversity and makes minor cuts in the food stamp program that consumes some 80 percent of the bill's spending.
The 35-11 committee vote comes three weeks after the Senate passed its version of the half-trillion-dollar bill. Next up is a decision by the House's Republican leaders on how to handle a bill that conservatives say is too expensive and Democrats don't like because of the food stamp cuts.
The House legislation would save $3.5 billion a year from current spending levels, with $1.6 billion coming from tightening rules for food stamp beneficiaries. Amendments by Democrats to erase those cuts and by Republicans to increase them failed.
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