News (USA)

Senate OKs budget amendment granting VA, Social Security benefits to married same-sex couples

U.S. Capitol
U.S. Capitol

WASHINGTON — Republicans muscled a balanced-budget plan through the U.S. Senate early Friday that included an amendment granting Veteran’s Affairs and Social Security benefits to married same-sex couples.

Eleven GOP senators, many of whom face competitive re-election fights in 2016, supported the amendment offered by Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii).

Sens. Rob Portman (Ohio), Kelly Ayotte (N.H.), Richard Burr (N.C.), Ron Johnson (Wisc), Mark Kirk (Ill.), and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) were among the co-signers.

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Three GOP Senators who are expected to announce presidential bids fpr 2016 – Marco Rubio (Fla.), Rand Paul (Ky.), and Lindsey Graham (S.C.) – voted against granting benefits, as did early presidential contender Ted Cruz (Texas).

The amendment passed 57–43.

The Senate was beginning a spring recess after approving the measure, leaving Congress’ two GOP-run chambers to negotiate a compromise budget in mid-April. The legislation is a non-binding blueprint that does not require Obama’s signature.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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