The Washington Times - December 5, 2013, 09:43AM

Rep. Randy Neugebauer said Thursday that Republicans are intent on finding savings in the farm bill by making sure that people who receive food stamps are entitled to them.

Mr. Neugebauer, Texas Republican, said the cost of the food stamp program has ballooned in the wake of the 2008 recession — to $80 billion — feeding into the nation’s $17 trillion national debt.

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“I hold a responsibility to everybody in this country — in particular the taxpayers — to ensure that we are doing these programs effectively,” Mr. Neugebauer said on C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal.”

Congress approved a temporary increase in food stamps — known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP — as part of the the 2009 federal stimulus package. But that increase ended on Nov. 1, and now the average four-person family receives about $40 less in assistance each month.

Democrats say the growth of the program is a reflection of the nation’s post-recession economic and employment woes and is safety net for struggling families.

Republicans say that they are concerned the program has become bloated and that Congress should take steps to ensure that the food stamp recipients deserve what they are getting.

Earlier this year, House Republicans proposed cutting $40 billion from the program over 10 years, a move that led to a disagreement with Democrats and has become a major sticking point in the farm bill negotiations.

“What we are saying is, moving forward we want to make sure that everybody that is on the program that we are doing everything we can to make sure that they qualify for it.”

Mr. Neugebauer said that roughly 47 million people participate in the food stamp program and that he was uncertain of how many people would come off the rolls under the Republican proposal.