President George W. Bush signed a 696-billion-dollar Pentagon spending bill immediately before his State of the Union address Monday night, which funds all Defence Department programmes not directly tied to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, expands health care for injured veterans and gives U.S. soldiers a pay raise.
The bill is a mixed bag for peace activists, since Bush added a so-called "signing statement" saying he would ignore provisions that ban permanent military bases in Iraq and forbid the use of U.S. troops to exercise United States control of Iraq's oil resources.
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The average veteran must wait almost six months for an answer on a disability claim.
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