Rural lawmakers worried that $9 billion in annual federal crop insurance subsidies are an easy target for spending cuts in any deal to avert the "fiscal cliff" are shopping around for a late compromise on a farm bill to protect them.
The farm-state leaders hope that if they can strike a deal on a farm bill, it might be included in a broader package to undo tax increases and spending cuts scheduled to automatically kick in next year. But the leaders hit an impasse this week, just as President Barack Obama and Republican House Speaker John Boehner did in their negotiations.
The Senate and House agriculture bills preserve crop insurance subsidies and create new crop insurance programs.
The White House in the past has targeted the insurance program for cuts.
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