Food stamp cuts kick in as Congress debates more

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WASHINGTON (AP) — More than 47 million Americans who receive food stamps will see their benefits go down starting Friday, just as Congress begins negotiations on further cuts.

Beginning in November, a temporary benefit from the 2009 economic stimulus that boosts food stamp dollars will no longer be available. The Agriculture Department says a family of four receiving food stamps will receive $36 less a month.

Food stamp costs have swelled as the economy has struggled in recent years, with the stimulus providing higher benefits and many people signing up for the first time. The program now costs almost $80 billion a year.

The increase in spending has turned the program into a target for House Republicans, who have proposed $4 billion in annual cuts and changes in eligibility and work requirements.

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