US House Republicans seek farm subsidy cuts, turning food stamps to cash

WASHINGTON, March 12 (Reuters) - Republicans in the U.S. House proposed $31 billion in farm subsidy cuts and the conversion of food stamps for the poor into a cash benefit program on Tuesday to help balance the federal budget in 10 years.

The proposal, signed by House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan, left it to the Agriculture Committee to pick the cuts but cited the $5 billion-a-year "direct payment" subsidy, paid regardless of cost, and the heavily subsidized federal crop insurance program as areas worthy of review.

It called for turning food stamps, which help poor people buy food, into a cash payment and allow "states to tailor their programs to their recipients' needs." Under the Ryan plan, food stamps would become a block grant, which would limit its cost.