WASHINGTON (AP) — The House and Senate agriculture committees have laid the groundwork this week for reducing the size of the federal food stamp program, approving farm bills that would shrink the food aid and alter the way people qualify for it.

The two chambers are far apart on how much the $80 billion-a-year program should be cut, however — reflecting a deep ideological divide on the role of government in helping the poor.

Resolving those differences will be key to passing the massive five-year farm bill that lawmakers are attempting to push through for a third consecutive year, after failing the last two.

The bill sets policy for farm subsidies, rural programs and the food aid. The House panel approved its legislation Wednesday, a day after the Senate committee approved its version.