A second extension is a contender as a possible short-term remedy for now-lapsed farm policy, and if that’s the outcome, a group of 20 Senators have made it clear they won’t support the inclusion of direct payments.
Arizona’s Jeff Flake and Missouri Senator Clair McCaskill have written Senate leadership, urging the elimination of the direct payment program. Annually, the direct payment program pays farmers about $5 billion in money that is not tied to current planting decisions or production levels. The senators dub continued direct payments a “costly regression” contrary to the bipartisan Senate effort to disable the program. Both the House and Senate farm bills passed this year would terminate the direct payment program.