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Senate approves veteran suicide prevention bill

Des Moines, Iowa (AP) _ The U.S. Senate has unanimously approved a bill intended to prevent suicides by military veterans.  The approval comes after Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma removed his hold on the measure which prevented it from being passed.

Coburn has said he was concerned by parts of the bill calling for mental health screenings of veterans and tracking of veterans who have received mental health services.  The bill is authored by Iowa Senator Tom Harkin and is called the Joshua Omvig Veterans Suicide Prevention Act.

Omvig was a 22-year-old Army Reservist from Iowa who killed himself in December 2005 after returning from Iraq.  The bill now goes back to the U.S. House where an earlier version passed on a vote of 423-0.

(Copyright 2007 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

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