Republicans Want to Cut Food Stamp Rolls by 20 percent say House Democrats

House Democrats, still reeling from a historic tax win on the right, say Republicans are working to cut the social safety net by kicking 8 million, about 20 percent of all participants, off of the food stamps program.

Negotiations broke down over the Farm Bill, which is mostly comprised of nutrition programs, after the proposed Republican cuts were leaked. In addition to lowering the rolls, the plan would increase the work requirement age limit from 60 to 65. The approximate $1 billion saved each month from the cuts will go to states to create job training initiatives, say Democrats.

"We have grown increasingly concerned about the nutrition policies being pushed by the Majority. Items you have outlined in your meetings with us and that have been reported in the press are a significant cause of concern," 19 Democratic House Committee on Agriculture members wrote in a joint letter to ranking member Congressman Collin Peterson Thursday.

The Committee members said they held 23 hearings on the future of food stamps, and no changes as radical as the ones outlined by Peterson were mentioned. They expressed concern about being asked to negotiate on the nuances of the bill without having seen the full text. The group asked Peterson to refrain from further negotiation until Congressman Mike Conaway, Committee Chairman, shared the full text of the bill.

Brooklyn residents receive free food as part of a Bowery Mission outreach program on December 5, 2013 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. The Christian ministry says it have seen a spike in need since food stamps to low-income families were reduced in November with cuts to the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). John Moore/Getty Images

"The Democratic members have made clear that they unanimously oppose the farm bill's SNAP language as it has been described to them and reported in the press," said Peterson. "My next steps are clear and I will not be continuing negotiations with the Chairman per the unanimous request of all Democratic members of the Committee."

Peterson has seen the text of the bill but "it's the Majority's proposal and, at their request, we can't share details," said his spokesperson Liz Friedlander.

The standstill presents a real challenge to the bill, which was seen until a few weeks ago as a largely bipartisan endevor and one of the only large pieces of legislation likely to pass in an election year.

Nearly 43 million Americans depend on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP—the initiative commonly known as food stamps, to supplement or, in some cases, provide all of their food. The average American receives $132 each month to grocery shop with and is subject to a number of work requirements to receive the money.

The farm bill must be passed every five years. The last bill was in 2014 and caused partisan battles over funding for food stamps. House Republicans first proposed to cut the food stamp program by $20 billion over a decade, and eventually passed a bill that chopped the plan by $8 billion.

Conaway says he isn't planning any large funding cuts cut this time around. "I have made it clear that policy, not budget cuts, will govern the writing of this farm bill, including SNAP," he told Politico. "In fact, not one person would be forced off SNAP due to the work or training requirements we have been discussing. Not one."