WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Senate ended a two-week standoff Thursday and passed a bill to aid homeless veterans. An unidentified Republican dropped his hold on the legislation.
The bill's sponsor, Minnesota Democrat Paul Wellstone, in turn dropped his hold on all nonemergency Republican legislation.
"It's a great victory," Wellstone said. "I know the leverage I have, and I'm going to use it."
Wellstone said he still hasn't been able to find out who placed the hold on his legislation, which passed by voice vote. "This is not a game," Wellstone said. "It really is unconscionable that we have so many homeless veterans. Too bad I had to scratch and claw."
The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates 300,000 veterans are homeless.
The bill unanimously passed the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee during the summer.
A similar version, sponsored by Reps. Lane Evans, D-Ill., and Chris Smith, R-N.J., passed the House last month. Wellstone staffers said they expect to resolve difference and win final passage quickly.
The bill would provide outreach to veterans facing possible homelessness and support veterans who are homeless, strengthen Veterans Affairs transitional housing and expand a federal program aimed at helping homeless veterans find jobs.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.