By MARY CLARE JALONICK, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
WASHINGTON — The Senate has rejected a Republican amendment to turn the federal food stamp program over to the states.
The current food stamp program is administered by the Agriculture Department and federal dollars are unlimited as long as recipients qualify. It cost $78 billion last year, more than double what it cost in 2008.
The amendment by Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., to a wide-ranging farm bill would have converted the program into block grants to individual states, which could then have decided how to use the nutrition dollars, with certain restrictions. The Senate rejected the amendment 60-36.
Under the Inhofe amendment, the total amount of the grants would have been capped between $46 billion and $54 billion a year over 10 years.