The U.S. Senate voted to advance a short-term spending bill on Tuesday to extend funding to the government through Dec. 11. The final passage of the bill is expected before the new budget year starts on Thursday.
The bill that Democrats had initially introduced prior to the agreement with the White House did not include the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) program providing aid to farmers, something the Trump administration wanted. The latest agreement would keep payments flowing through the CCC program while adding on accountability measures.
The short-term spending bill advanced while House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin continued their discussions on a COVID-19 aid bill. Pelosi's office said that she and Mnuchin spoke on Tuesday for about 50 minutes and plan further talks on Wednesday.
"The two went over the provisions of the updated Heroes Act and agreed to speak again tomorrow," Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill said on Twitter.
Pelosi said in a televised interview earlier on Monday that Mnuchin “has to come back with much more money to get the job done. So I’m hopeful. I’m optimistic.”
She told reporters, "I'm hopeful," on Tuesday when asked whether agreement on additional COVID-19 funding could be reached this week.
The latest bill, scaled back by more than $1 trillion, includes $1,200 direct payments to individuals and $500 per dependent—down from the $1,200 for dependents in the first version of the bill.
It would scale back an aid package to state and local governments to $436 billion and send $225 billion to colleges and universities.
Pelosi has not moved on one of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) key demands—liability protection for business owners, schools, and universities that reopen amid the pandemic.
“Senate and House Republicans agree these protections will be absolutely essential to future discussions surrounding recovery legislation,” they added.