In it, but not of it. TPM DC

Inside The Emerging Deal To Save The Food Stamp Program

AP Photo / J. Scott Applewhite

The expected fix is complicated. States participating in a federal program that subsidizes home heating costs have been able to use that program to increase food stamp benefits for their poor residents. The loophole allows residents to claim higher utility costs which made them eligible for a corresponding increase in food stamps. The fix would effectively close that loophole, reducing the cost to the federal government.

Other smaller changes include preventing lottery winners from receiving food stamps, stopping college students from non-eligible families from enrolling in the program and nixing accidental payments to deceased individuals.

Critically for Democrats, none of those changes would result in anybody being kicked off the program. It remains unclear whether there are enough Republican votes in the House to pass the deal. House GOP leadership appears willing to pass the bill with a significant number of Democratic votes, but whether they'd be willing to violate the so-called Hastert Rule (which requires a majority of the majority for a bill to move) is less certain.