House GOP seeks stricter work requirements on food stamps

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WASHINGTON (AP) Republicans controlling the House are proposing sweeping new work mandates on the nation's more than 40 million food stamp recipients as they kick off debate on a politically-freighted election-year overhaul of the government's food and farm programs.

Legislation released Thursday would require able-bodied adults aged 18-59 to work or participate in job training for 20 hours a week in order to receive food stamp benefits that average about $450 a month for a family of four.

The measure has already sparked opposition from Democrats, whose support is generally needed to pass the measure through Congress.

They say the tougher work requirements would drive millions of people off of the program.

The measure also would renew the government's safety net for producers as farm country endures a downturn.