The Republican-controlled House has approved legislation to boost health care spending for veterans and provide more money for record numbers of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans claiming service-related disabilities as they return home.
The vote Thursday night reflected the traditional bipartisan support for veterans in Congress.
Roughly half of the $148 billion measure is for veterans' pensions and disability payments over which lawmakers have little practical control. That includes a 20 percent, $10.5 billion increase for such payments.
The Associated Press reported this week that 45 percent of the 1.6 million veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are now seeking compensation for service-related injuries. About 1.2 million people are expected to file disability claims next year. That' on top of a backlog of almost 1 million.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)