A bill to overhaul the nation’s nutrition and farm program, as currently drafted, would cut spending by $35 billion over the next 10 years and make nearly 300,000 children ineligible for free school lunches, reports the New York Times. The fate of the bill appears in jeopardy because of a split in the ranks of House Republicans over the degree of spending cuts in the national school lunch program and other initiatives. The rift pits conservatives who want deeper cuts against moderates and Democrats who think the bill goes far enough at a time of weak economic growth. After a late-night drafting session that ended early on July 12, the House Agriculture Committee easily approved their version of the farm bill, but House Republican leaders, fearing a divisive and messy intraparty floor fight, might hold off a floor vote until after the November elections to avoid being portrayed as the party that wants to virtually gut school lunch and food stamp programs…

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staff and wire services reports