An amendment was passed by a vote of 59-38, which aimed to prevent the Department of Transportation from using federal funds to enforce COVID-19 mask mandates across all modes of transportation until fiscal year 2024.
Amendment Senate Approved
As reported by the Washington Examiner, the U.S. Senate approved the amendment introduced by Senator JD Vance of Ohio as part of a three-bill spending package.
Bipartisan Support for the Amendment
This bipartisan amendment received support from several Democrats, including Senators Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, and Jon Tester of Montana, as highlighted by the Washington Examiner.
Notably, these Democrat senators, hailing from red states and facing reelection in 2024, saw merit in the amendment.
Senator Vance Celebrates Victory for Personal Freedom
Senator Vance hailed this development as a significant victory for personal freedom in the country.
Abuse of Authority
He stated, “We saw countless abuses of authority throughout the COVID pandemic, and the American people were justifiably enraged by unscientific mask mandates. Today, the United States Senate took an emphatic step toward common sense and individual liberty. I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished here and look forward to continuing the fight.”
Akin to the “Freedom To Breathe Act”
The nature of this amendment is ”akin to a bill previously introduced by Senator Vance in September.”
That legislation called the “Freedom To Breathe Act,” was noted in a press release on Senator Vance’s website that it would “… ensure that no federal bureaucracy, no commercial airline, and no public school can impose the misguided policies of the past. Democrats say they’re not going to bring back mask mandates – we’re going to hold them to their word.”
One of Many Amendments in the Senate
While this new amendment marked a significant development, it is just one of many that the Senate is currently considering.
$280 Billion Package
Newsmax stated, “The Senate is voting on 41 amendments to the $280 billion package, which would allocate funds for several government departments, including Agriculture, Veterans Affairs, Housing and Urban Development, and Transportation; the Food and Drug Administration; and military construction.”
The Minibus for Amendment Votes
To facilitate this appropriations process, lawmakers, as highlighted by Newsmax, agreed on Tuesday to bring up the long-anticipated minibus for amendment votes this week.
Government Funding Efforts
Combining three of the 12 appropriations bills that fund the government, this minibus is a significant step forward in government funding efforts.
Efforts to Influence Appropriations Process
Senators Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, as detailed by Newsmax, are working to advance this bundle of legislation, which includes nine additional fiscal 2024 funding bills.
An Attempt to Influence
Their efforts are part of an attempt to influence the appropriations process, given the likelihood of a broader funding standoff between the Senate and House Republicans.
Government Shutdown Looms
With a looming government shutdown deadline of November 17, discussions are already underway, as reported by Newsmax, to address the potential need for another continuing resolution.
Bide Time To Negotiate
As Newsmax notes, such a resolution would “help sustain existing funding levels, providing additional time for negotiations” and ensuring the continued functioning of critical government operations.
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