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Bill to aid paralyzed vets blocked in Senate

Jul. 29, 2008 - 05:10AM   |   Last Updated: Jul. 29, 2008 - 05:10AM  |  
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A bill promising more money for programs that help paralyzed veterans is part of a bundle of legislation tied up in partisan bickering in the Senate.

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A bill promising more money for programs that help paralyzed veterans is part of a bundle of legislation tied up in partisan bickering in the Senate.

The Christopher Reeve and Dana Reeve Act, which includes money for research into spinal cord injuries, is one of about 36 bills combined by Senate Democrats into what they are calling the Advancing America's Priorities Act.

The bills have been bundled in an attempt to bypass objections from Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., who has used senatorial privileges and procedures to stop action on several bills, including the spinal cord injury bill.

The Democratic plan failed Monday on a 50-42 vote, leaving them short of the 60 votes needed to cut off debate on the package.

Named for the late actor who suffered a spinal cord injury and for his late wife, the Reeve Act has the backing of Paralyzed Veterans of America. It would provide $25 million for clinical research on spinal cord injuries, rehabilitation research and programs to improve the quality of life of people who are paralyzed.

"We have a war with many veterans who suffer some from spinal cord injuries or paralysis," said Lee Page, associate advocacy director for Paralyzed Veterans for America.

The group has 19,000 members, a small part of the estimated 200,000 Americans with spinal cord injuries who might be helped through more research, he said.

The House of Representatives passed the Reeve bill in 2007 but the Senate never followed suit, Page said, adding that he hopes bipartisan support for the measure would overcome the procedural hurdles preventing its enactment.

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