Senate approves jobs benefits for veterans

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- An unusually unified Senate has passed legislation that helps unemployed veterans and companies doing business with the government.

Thursday's 95-0 vote will let senators head home for Veterans Day events and take credit for helping some of the 240,000 jobless veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

The bill would give tax credits to companies hiring unemployed vets.

It also would repeal a law that would require the government to withhold 3 percent of its payments to contractors, starting in 2013.

That was designed to pressure contractors to fully pay their taxes. But lawmakers say the requirement would make it harder for the companies to hire workers.

The House could approve the bill next week. The tax breaks for hiring vets would be the first pieces of Obama's jobs plan to become law.