Bush Signs Bill Aiding Homeless Veterans
WASHINGTON (AP) _ President Bush on Wednesday signed what may be the last two pieces of legislation of his presidency: one helping homeless veterans and another adjusting the government’s debt-collection programs.
The veterans bill authorizes $48 million in each of the next three years to finance services for homeless veterans. It directs the Department of Veterans Affairs to set up four comprehensive centers to counsel homeless veterans. Counselors also would be located in 83 other VA facilities.
Thirty percent of the nation’s homeless are veterans, according to Rep. G.V. Montgomery, D-Miss., chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee. Rep. Lane Evans, D-Ill., has said their number might be as high as 250,000.
The legislation will allow VA to donate or lease its properties to provide temporary shelter for veterans. The agency also will be authorized to make grants to public or nonprofit organizations that assist homeless veterans.
The other measure signed Wednesday makes technical corrections to federal debt-collection programs.
In his nearly four years in the White House, Bush has vetoed 46 bills - the tax bill a week ago was the latest - but there also may be pocket vetoes not yet counted. A pocket veto occurs when a president does not act on legislation after Congress goes out of session.