Senate blocks bill boosting veterans' benefits

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Senate Republicans have blocked a Democratic bill that would enrich health, education and job-training programs for the nation's 22 million veterans.

Helping veterans is widely popular among lawmakers, especially with this fall's congressional elections approaching. The sweeping $21 billion measure would do everything from letting more veterans get in-state college tuition to providing fertility treatments for wounded troops.

Republicans complained that the bill was too expensive. And they were upset that Majority Leader Harry Reid prevented a vote on a GOP amendment cutting the bill and adding sanctions against Iran for its nuclear program.

The Senate derailed the legislation on a 56-41 procedural vote. Fifty-six senators voted to keep the bill alive, but supporters needed 60 votes to prevail


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