Veterans groups to Senate GOP: Don't tie Iran sanctions to our bill

Two of America's largest veterans organizations on Wednesday urged Republicans to abandon their push to attach Iran sanctions to pending benefits legislation.

The American Legion and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America are demanding a clean vote on a bill from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) that would boost veterans' healthcare programs and give veterans in-state tuition rates at all schools across the country. The bill is stuck in the Senate as lawmakers debate amendments, notably a push from Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) to attach Iran sanctions.

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“Iran is a serious issue that Congress needs to address, but it cannot be tied to S. 1982, which is extremely important as our nation prepares to welcome millions of U.S. military servicemen and women home from war,” American Legion National Commander Daniel Dellinger said in a statement. “We can deal with Iran — or any other issue unrelated specifically to veterans — with separate legislation.”

Likewise, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America tweeted that the Senate shouldn't get “distracted” with Iran sanctions and other amendments that “aren't relevant” to the bill.

The sanctions legislation has broad bipartisan support — 59 senators have signed on — but Democrats have accepted President Obama's request to lay off while nuclear talks continue. As a result passage of the bill has become a partisan battle ahead of the 2014 midterms, with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and other Republicans this week upping the pressure on the Senate's majority leader to schedule a vote.

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