House OK's Billions in Cuts to Food Stamp Program

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The House of Representatives has passed legislation that slashes billions of dollars from the nation's food stamp program.

The farm measure, approved Thursday in a 217-210 vote, cuts nearly $4 billion a year.

Republicans say savings would be achieved by allowing states to put new work requirements in place for food stamp recipients.

Democrats called the bill "heartless."

"It's a sad day in the people's House when the leadership brings to the floor one of the most heartless bills I have ever seen," Rep. James McGovern, D-Mass., said. "It's terrible policy trapped in a terrible process."

But GOP lawmakers said it would end government waivers that have allowed able-bodied adults without dependents to receive food stamps indefinitely.

"This bill is designed to give people a hand when they need it most," Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said.

He added the measure "will put people on the path to self-sufficiency and independence."

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