User Login    
 + Register
News : Vets Benefits Bill Should Win Initial Senate Vote
Posted by Randy on 2014/2/25 4:24:32 (196 reads) News by the same author

WASHINGTON (AP) — A sprawling Democratic bill expanding health, education and other benefits for veterans seems ready to clear an initial hurdle in the Senate. Yet the election-year measure faces an uncertain fate as Republicans try to make it smaller and find ways to pay for it.

Click to see original Image in a new window

The legislation, which sponsor Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., says would cost $21 billion over the coming decade, could confront GOP lawmakers with an uncomfortable campaign-season test over curbing spending for the nation's 22 million veterans and their families. Most veterans groups support the legislation, and the voting bloc they represent is a potent one that both parties usually try to avoid offending.

"There's a lot of need in the veterans community," said Sanders, who chairs the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.

The Senate was expected to vote Tuesday to begin debating the legislation. Republicans seemed prepared to provide enough support for the measure to win the 60 votes needed to proceed.

After that, the path is uncertain, and some Republicans consider the measure a campaign season ploy by Democrats to force them to oppose helping veterans.

"It's all about the elections," said Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina, top Republican on the veterans panel.

Republicans were demanding a chance to offer amendments. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has blocked such votes on some bills, concerned that GOP senators would use them to embarrass Democrats on politically divisive issues like rolling back President Barack Obama's health care overhaul.

The House has approved some of the benefit improvements in Sanders' bill, but Republicans who run that chamber say they oppose parts of the Senate bill and want better ways of financing it.

The bulk of the bill's costs would come from money left unspent from the end of U.S. fighting in Iraq and the phase-out of American forces in Afghanistan. Republicans consider that phony savings since those wars were already winding down and there were no real plans to spend that money on fighting.

Sanders' bill would let many uninsured veterans without service-connected injuries get coverage from the VA health care system.

Burr said he was writing a GOP package that wouldn't let those veterans get VA medical coverage and would not rely on unspent war money for its funding.

The Democratic bill would also make it easier for veterans to qualify for in-state tuition at public universities. Jobless programs would be extended and states would be pressured to make it easier for veterans to get truck driver's and other licenses.

The measure would provide fertility treatment and coverage of adoption costs for veterans whose infertility sprang from service-related injuries. It would also expand VA counseling and treatment for sexual assault victims and increase the agency's chiropractic care, dentistry coverage and alternative medicine, such as using yoga to treat stress.

A two-year program would pay for fitness center memberships for overweight veterans who live more than 15 minutes from a VA fitness facility.

The bill also erased a 1 percent cut in annual inflation increases for veterans who retire early from the military that Congress enacted late last year. Legislation signed this month by Obama ended that cut for most early retirees, so Sanders now wants to end it for those who joined the military beginning this year.

Printer Friendly Page Send this Story to a Friend Create a PDF from the article


Other articles
2014/10/31 9:42:05 - KC Royals Acquire Minor League Catcher
2014/10/31 7:40:47 - PSC Cold Weather Rule Takes Effect November 1
2014/10/31 7:33:53 - MoDOT To Hold Winter Readiness Drill
2014/10/31 6:31:42 - Trenton Police Department Offers Halloween Safety Tips
2014/10/31 4:35:51 - Halloween Is A Dangerous Night For Impaired Driving
2014/10/31 4:26:18 - Student Threatens To Bring Gun To School; Lack Of Communication Upsets Parents
2014/10/31 4:21:03 - Ameren To Lower Gas Rates For Missouri Customers
2014/10/31 4:12:03 - Elderly Man Shoots Woman Who Kicked In Door
2014/10/31 4:07:35 - Trenton Woman Arrested On Violation Of Probation
2014/10/31 4:05:02 - Unity Road To Be Closed For Railroad Crossing Work
2014/10/30 10:19:14 - 11 Men Sentenced In International Child Porn Ring
2014/10/30 10:07:13 - Plane Crashes Into Building At Airport In Wichita, Kansas
2014/10/30 9:22:06 - Grundy County Circuit Court News
2014/10/30 9:19:12 - Summit Natural Gas To Raise Rates
2014/10/30 9:13:29 - Chillicothe Police Make Additional Arrest In Drug Investigation
2014/10/30 4:40:00 - Mother Upset After School Vaccinates Her Child Without Her Permission
2014/10/30 4:36:29 - Illinois Teacher Calls Jamaican Students "N" Word After They Object To 'Afro-American'
2014/10/30 4:09:13 - Kirksville Teen Arrested For Child Molestation
2014/10/30 4:02:02 - Missouri Inmate Indicted For Killing Cellmate
2014/10/30 3:59:21 - Wentzville Parents Charged In 10-Week-Old's Death
2014/10/29 12:36:00 - "Mr. Mizzou" John Kadlec Passes Away at 86
2014/10/29 12:33:08 - NCMC Announces Cancellation of "Meet the Pirate" Night
2014/10/29 12:28:54 - Pre-Season Parent Meeting Approaches For THS Wrestlers
2014/10/29 12:24:51 - Alex Smith Suffers Shoulder Injury
2014/10/29 12:19:43 - 7th Heaven : Royals Push World Series To Dramatic Final Game
2014/10/29 10:40:56 - Health Fair To Be Held Saturday In Mercer County
2014/10/29 10:38:44 - Solar Farm, Electric Rates Topic Of Trenton Board Of Public Works
2014/10/29 10:36:41 - Program On Ebola To Be Presented Saturday In Chillicothe
2014/10/29 10:34:22 - Chillicothe Police Department Makes Arrests On Drug Charges
2014/10/29 7:33:09 - Ebola Containment Topic Of Local Emergency Planning Committee



Bookmark this article at these sites

                   

Listen to KTTN-FM