Changes to Food Stamp Program Under Review

May 20, 2013 05:02 AM EDT | By Staff Reporter

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Nearly 47 million people - one in seven Americans - rely on food stamps for some or all of their daily sustenance, according to the Department of Agriculture, a number that has grown nearly 70 percent since the financial collapse of 2008.  

The increased enrollment has caused costs to soar from $35 billion in 2007 to $80 billion last year, and now lawmakers in both the House and the Senate are targeting program for cuts even as advocates cry foul. 

Farm bills passed this week by the House and Senate Agriculture Committees do not go as far as the Obama administration's proposal, which would move the $1.4 billion program from the budget of the Agriculture Department to the foreign affairs budget in an effort to speed delivery and cut costs.

Senator Debbie Stabenow, Democrat of Michigan and the chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, said she had had conversations with the Obama administration about changes to the food aid program.

"We chose to keep it in the Agriculture Department, but give it more flexibility," she said in a conference call with reporters on Thursday. "I think it's a big step forward, and it had bipartisan support."

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