Sen­ate clears key hur­dles on stalled spend­ing mea­sure with flur­ry of amend­ments

Sen­a­tors vot­ed and approved dozens of amend­ments before the final pas­sage of a near­ly $280 bil­lion bill that would fund the depart­ments of Agri­cul­ture, Vet­er­ans Affairs, Hous­ing and Urban Devel­op­ment, Trans­porta­tion, the Food and Drug Admin­is­tra­tion, and mil­i­tary con­struc­tion on Wednes­day.
Over two dozen amend­ments were bun­dled togeth­er and approved in groups on Wednes­day morn­ing. From pro­vid­ing fund­ing for the Urban Agri­cul­ture and Inno­v­a­tive Pro­gram to ini­tia­tives to expand access to mam­mog­ra­phy ini­tia­tives and equip­ment for female vet­er­ans to pro­vid­ing fund­ing for inva­sive cat­fish con­trol, the amend­ments approved via voice vote were not con­tro­ver­sial.
Lat­er in the after­noon on Wednes­day, sen­a­tors vot­ed on stand-alone amend­ments. Law­mak­ers vot­ed 59–38 in favor of an amend­ment offered by Sen. J.D. Vance (R‑OH) to ban DOT from using fed­er­al fund­ing to enforce mask man­dates in the larg­er spend­ing bill. The pro­vi­sion aims to pre­vent fed­er­al mask man­dates on all modes of trans­porta­tion through fis­cal 2024, with near­ly a dozen Democ­rats vot­ing with Repub­li­can …