WASHINGTON - A Democratic bill enhancing health care and other benefits for veterans is facing an uphill climb as the Senate approaches a showdown vote on the $21 billion legislation.
Majority Leader Harry Reid is blocking a vote on a Republican alternative that would eliminate some of the improvements and impose sanctions on Iran for its nuclear program.
Citing Reid's refusal to allow a sanctions vote, GOP senators are expected to rally behind a procedural move Thursday that would derail the veterans bill. It will take 60 votes to keep the bill alive -- more than the 53 Democrats and two Democratic-leaning independents are likely to garner.
President Barack Obama opposes Iran sanctions until international negotiations proceed further. Each party says the other is playing politics with the veterans legislation.