Lawmakers push to approve unified veterans bill

By

WASHINGTON (AP) — After two overwhelming votes in two days, congressional lawmakers say they are confident they can agree on a bill to improve veterans' health care and send it to the president's desk by the end of the month.

The Senate easily approved a bill Wednesday to help shorten wait times for thousands of military veterans seeking medical care, a day after the House unanimously adopted a similar measure.

The Senate bill would authorize about $35 billion over three years to pay for outside care for veterans, hire hundreds of doctors and nurses, and lease 26 new health facilities across the nation.

The chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, says he hopes Congress can approve a unified bill as soon as next week.

©2014 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.