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Republicans to propose $40 billion cut over decade to food stamps program

House Republican leaders are to present a bill that would cut the food stamps program by $40 billion over 10 years, a move opposed by Democrats.

Republicans say the program, whose enrollment soared after the 2008-09 recession, is unbearably expensive at $78 billion a year.

Democrats such as Rep. Jim McGovern of Massachusetts say food stamps mitigate hunger in a still-weak economy.

One in seven Americans received food stamps -- the largest U.S. anti-hunger program – at the latest count, Reuters said.

Doug Heye, the deputy chief of staff for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said in a statement Thursday that the bill would “include common-sense measures, such as work requirements and job-training requirements for able-bodied adults without children receiving assistance, that enjoy a broad range of support.”

The bill was worked up by Cantor and Frank Lucas, chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, and will be considered by House Republicans after the August recess.

Collin Peterson, D-Minn., ranking member of the House Agriculture Committee, said there would be “no Democratic votes” for the food stamp bill.

He said it was “very disappointing,” adding that the cuts might even be too tough for some Republicans to support.

“I don’t know what the hell they’re trying to do other than placate the Wall Street Journal and the Club for Growth and the Heritage, I don't know what they're doing,” Peterson said.

Lucas told Reuters that the legislation on food stamps would be part of any talks with the Senate on a new U.S. farm law costing $100 billion a year.

The House needs to pass a bill to fund food stamp programs after they pulled the provision out of the farm bill in an effort to pass it without Democratic votes. 

Republican leadership was stunned when the Farm Bill, with the food stamp provisions included, failed on the House floor on June 20. 

Reuters contributed to this report.