Coburn lifts hold on vets' benefits bill

The hold on a veterans' benefits bill in the Senate was lifted on Wednesday by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.).

Coburn's office confirmed that the Oklahoma conservative had agreed to lift his hold on the bill in exchange for the opportunity to offer an amendment that will address his concerns with the legislation.

Coburn had complained that the current veterans bill is discriminatory in that it limits benefits to caregivers of veterans who have been on active duty since September 11, 2001.

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The senator will be allowed an amendment that would expand those benefits of all generations of veterans, and require the State Department to transfer money to the Department of Veterans Affairs to finance those benefits.

Coburn will be allowed three hours of debate on his amendment after striking an agreement with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), reported the Army Times.

The Senate on Monday rejected another amendment on Coburn that would have referred the vets' bill back to committee, where the Oklahoman wanted the bill's costs to be offset by cuts to military construction and other programs for veterans.