Twenty Senators wrote Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) recently demanding that any farm bill extension brought to the floor eliminate direct payments. 

In a letter sent last week, they emphasized this standard applied regardless of support for the farm bill as a whole, saying, “without regard to whether we supported the Senate farm bill or opposed it, we all agree that Congress should not consider another extension of the 2008 Farm Bill that continues direct payments.”

Both the House and Senate approved bills earlier this year that eliminated direct payments, and agriculture groups across the board have accepted that reality. Both bills replace the longstanding program with new and more politically palatable safety net options.

However, with the 2008 Farm Bill now expired for the second time, the chance of an extension of existing farm programs yet again is somewhat greater.