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Senate to Vote on Veteran Benefits Reform Bill

Capitol_BuildingThe Senate is set to decide on legislation that would extend various veteran privileges and create new benefits for former military service members, Federal News Radio reported Thursday.

Jared Serbu writes the 400-page legislation, introduced by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), is intended to revoke a provision of the Ryan-Murray budget deal that trims the cost-of-living adjustment of military retirees by 1 percent annually.

“Within the next few days, I think we’re going to have the support of every major veterans organization in the country,” Sanders told a conference, according to the report.

The bill would insulate veteran disability payments from future budget impasses by Congress and introduce new entitlements such as dental care and alternative medicine, according to the report.

“We’re creating a major pilot that begins the process of making dental care part of VA health care, something that I think veterans feel very strongly about,” Sanders told reporters.

Serbu writes federal agencies will be required to add more than 15,000 veterans to their workforces and the Department of Veterans Affairs will have to adopt a new reporting scheme for disability claims backlog and progress.

The bill is also intended to extend payments to survivors of deceased service members and to authorize leases for 27 community-based outpatient clinics, Federal News Radio reports.

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