U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) hopes a bill to provide greater benefits to veterans gets another chance in the Senate. The legislation included $21 billion in medical, education, and job training benefits for vets. Senate Republicans, however, blocked it over concerns about funding. The benefits were supposed to be paid for by using unspent money from the end of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which Durbin admits is a controversial source.
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“But the Republicans have used it,” Durbin said. “They used it themselves on a (U.S. Rep. Paul) Ryan budget just a couple years ago. So, it seems to me that they are reluctant to give the Democrats or President Obama any kind of a win, even when it’s a win for veterans first and foremost.”
Republicans argued that the increased benefits of the bill would overburden veterans’ services. Some senators also tried to tack on an amendment that included sanctions on Iran, which Durbin believes are ill-advised while there are ongoing negotiations over that country’s nuclear program.