Military spending bill advances; veterans legislation stalls

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| Washington editor

A military spending bill advanced Thursday in Congress, but legislation to help military veterans stalled.

The Republican-controlled House voted 270-156 in favor of a $612 billion defense authorization bill for the new fiscal year, which began Thursday.

Meantime, legislation making appropriations for military construction and the Department of Veterans Affairs failed to clear a procedural hurdle in the GOP-run Senate. The chamber approved the legislation 50-44 on a motion requiring 60 votes to pass.

Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., was the only Democrat to vote in favor of limiting debate and sending the measure, which would spend $78 billion, to a final vote.

“Our commitment to supporting veterans should be something we can all agree on,” Donnelly said in a statement. “However, we must also remember that supporting veterans and their families goes beyond the VA’s budget.”

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