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Sen. Klobuchar tapped for Farm Bill Conference Committee

Posted by: Corey Mitchell under Minnesota U.S. senators, Minnesota congressional, Democrats, Republicans Updated: August 2, 2013 - 11:36 AM

Senate leaders have tapped U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar to join the Farm Bill Conference Committee, a group tasked with reconciling the differences between the House and Senate farm bills.

But a plan by House Republicans to slash food stamp funding by $4 billion annually has dimmed the prospects for reaching  a deal before the current farm bill expires Sept. 30.

The GOP proposal is almost certain to face strong opposition from the Democrat-led Senate and President Obama, who have opposed significant cuts to the program.

In June, Senate lawmakers approved a farm bill that would keep the bill's food and farm programs largely intact, cutting food stamps by about $400 million per year.

A month later, the House approved a scaled-back version of the farm bill, completely stripping out the food-stamp program used by an estimated 48 million Americans.

That vote came after lawmakers failed earlier this summer to pass a farm bill that would have implemented the biggest cuts to the food-stamp program in decades. The legislation stalled when Democrats feared too many people would no longer be eligible for food aid.

U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson, the ranking Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee, said the latest GOP proposal to slash food stamps have killed any hopes of passing farm legislation this year.

If that's the case, food stamp funding would continue, but the price of milk and other commodities would spike if the current farm subsidy programs expire.

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