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House okays smaller farm bill, leaves out food stamp cuts

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The House of Representatives passed a stripped-down version of a massive farm bill on Thursday, giving GOP leaders a victory after the larger bill was defeated last month. The bill, which contained only farm programs, won a narrow 216-208 approval. Only 12 Republicans voted against the new measure and no Democrats voted for it.

The Associated Press reports that the vote delayed a likely dustup over the politically sensitive issue of food stamp spending. The provision that would have chopped 3 percent from the $80 billion program was cut from the bill. Many Republicans wanted deeper cuts since the program's cost has doubled in the last five years. Democrat balked at the idea of any cuts.

The Senate overwhelmingly passed a farm bill last month with only a half-percent cut to food stamps. The AP reports that the Senate would be reluctant to accept further cuts to the programs.The Obama administration had threatened to veto the original bill because it did not include enough reductions to farm subsidies and the food stamp cuts were too deep.

Farm groups and anti-hunger groups are against separating the farm and nutrition programs after decades of linking them. Rural lawmakers have long added money for food stamps to the farm bill to gather urban votes for the measure.

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