A bipartisan group of U.S. senators is continuing their fight with the Bush administration over agriculture trade sanctions with Cuba, according to Dow Jones newswires.



The senators, 10 Republicans and 10 Democrats, Wednesday introduced legislation that would head off the U.S. Treasury Department from tightening rules governing payment conditions for food sales to Cuba. The bill's sponsors say Treasury's new rules effectively will close the Cuban market to U.S. agricultural products.



Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Dick Lugar, R-Ind., Intelligence Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and Senate Finance Committee ranking Democrat Max Baucus of Montana are among those sponsoring the bill.



"The administration picked the wrong fight by trying to cut off U.S. agricultural sales to Cuba," Baucus said. Baucus said farmers in Montana and throughout the country have found a lucrative new market in Cuba.



In January, he threatened to block Senate confirmation of nominations to top-level Treasury Department positions until the issue is resolved.



U.S. agricultural exports to Cuba have reached $700 million since Congress passed legislation in 2001 specifically intended to open the communist nation to American farm exports.