Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Senate rejects bill on veterans benefits


Gregg Zoroya , USA TODAY 8:50 a.m. EST November 15, 2016

The largest piece of veterans legislation in decades -- aimed at expanding health care, education and other benefits -- was rejected Thursday by the Senate on a procedural issue after proponents failed to obtain 60 votes to keep the bill alive.

Wrangling over an issue -- veterans -- that often receives bipartisan support, the legislation died on a vote of 56-41, with only two Republicans voting for it.

Most Republicans said it was too large, too costly and would burden a Department of Veterans Affairs already struggling to keep up with promised benefits.

Sen Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent and chairman of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee who authored the bill, argued that many provisions in the bill have won bipartisan support in other pieces of pending legislation before Congress.

Republicans complained about how to pay for it. Sanders' legislation had more than 140 provisions costing $21 billion over 10 years.


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