Legislators rush to slip food stamps, farm subsidies into fiscal cliff deal

WASHINGTON — Amidst a flurry of fiscal cliff negotiations, the leaders of the House and Senate agriculture committees are hoping to pull off a legislative sleight of hand.

Eager to pass a farm bill, which would set federal spending on agriculture subsidies and food stamps for the next five years, they have been negotiating privately to reach a compromise that could be easily approved as part of a larger fiscal cliff package.

That path to passage would conveniently circumvent the logjam in the House, where disagreements between fiscal conservatives and farm-state Republicans have impeded the bill’s progress. And it would satisfy the complex set of constituencies for farm subsidies and a giant anti-poverty program.