U.S. Sen. Al Franken and 38 of his Senate colleagues signed a letter urging the farm bill conference committee to reject a bill that would cut $40 billion from the federal food stamp program over the next decade.

To cut the funding, the House Republican-backed legislation would enforce stricter eligibility standards for aid, "preventing millions of seniors, children and families from accessing food assistance,” the letter reads.

The Senate version of the farm bill, which Franken backed, would reduce funding by $4 billion over 10 years.

“The Senate-passed Farm Bill did not change these eligibility rules and, though Sen. Franken would have preferred to see no reduction in funding, cut the program by a much smaller $4.5 billion, “ said Ed Shelleby, Franken’s spokesman.

The farm bill negotiations begin Wednesday. Three Minnesota lawmakers -- U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar and U.S. Reps. Collin Peterson and Tim Walz -- are among the 41 conference committee members.

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