Veterans’ bill passes Senate |

Veterans’ bill passes Senate

Staff Reports

WASHINGTON – The Senate Friday passed the amendment authored by members including Sen. Richard Bryan, D-Nev., which adds $500 million a year to underfunded veterans’ health care programs.

“For far too long, the federal government has not been living up to its sacred agreement with our nation’s veterans,” he said.

That amount is on top of the $1.4 billion increase in VA health care programs already proposed by President Clinton and contained in the Republican leadership’s budget resolution.

At the same time, Senate Democrats Harry Reid of Nevada and Daniel Inouye of Hawaii have introduced legislation that would let veterans with service-related disabilities collect both disability compensation and military retirement.

“America’s disabled veterans should not be forced to choose between retirement pay or losing a portion of their benefits connected to a service-related disability,” said Reid.

The proposal is supported by veterans organizations across the nation and is now being considered by the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.