Senate Agriculture Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow stressed the need to pass a farm bill, not an extension.
"I don't believe that we ought to let the current farm bill expire if we're unable at this point to pass a replacement," McConnell said. "So on that, I speak for myself. There are different points of view in our Conference."
Senate Republican Conference Chairman John Thune (S.D.), a member of the Agriculture Committee who voted for the Senate bill, agreed with McConnell.
"We need to have some policy in place," Thune said. "I think allowing it to expire would be a mistake, and I say that as somebody who voted for the farm bill."
"I would like to see a five-year farm bill," Thune continued. "But in the number of legislative days that are left, it's unlikely we probably get there. So if we could do something that would provide some disaster, some drought assistance to people who have been impacted by the drought this year, and do an extension of some time frame of the existing farm bill, that would probably be maybe the best solution we could hope for right now."
The House passed a drought aid package before the recess. The Senate never took up the measure because Democrats hoped to keep up the pressure on the long-term farm bill. The House aid bill was also less generous than aid provided in the Senate farm bill.
Asked about the drought aid measure, Reid said, "It would have to be a drought package that was at least as good as our farm bill, and it isn't."
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.