WASHINGTON — The House on Wednesday approved a 3.7% cost-of-living increase in Veterans' Affairs benefits paid to 2.2 million disabled veterans.
The hike, which also applies to the more than 300,000 widows of veterans who died of service-related causes, was approved by a voice vote in the House. Passed previously by the Senate, the measure now goes to the White House. President Bush is expected to sign it.
Veterans should see the increase in their January checks, said Rep. Doug Applegate (D-Ohio), chairman of the Veterans' Affairs subcommittee on compensation, pension and insurance.
Rep. G. V. (Sonny) Montgomery (D-Miss.), chairman of the Veterans' Affairs Committee, said he was pleased Congress avoided last year's legislative disputes that held up for three months the 5.4% cost-of-living increase paid in fiscal year 1991.
"Veterans who have suffered injury in service to their country and their families should not have to worry that their checks might not be on time or wonder if they will be able to keep pace with the cost of living," Montgomery said in a statement.