WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Senate has voted overwhelmingly to begin debating a sprawling Democratic bill expanding health, education and other benefits for millions of veterans.
The measure's ultimate fate remains unclear. Republicans say the election-year bill is too expensive and would clog up a system already overburdened with large numbers of veterans seeking health care and other benefits.
The Senate voted Tuesday 99-0 to thwart procedural delays against the measure. In coming days, Republicans are expected to try making the measure smaller.
Changes sought by the GOP include eliminating provisions that would let many more veterans without service-connected wounds get health care at VA facilities.
The chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, Sen. Bernie Sanders, says the measure would cost $21 billion over the next decade.
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