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A Senate bill to expand benefits for veterans and their families stalled Thursday in the face of partisan gridlock and election-year politicking.

The vote on a procedural motion was 56-41, short of the 60 votes needed to advance.

Republicans said the legislation's $21 billion price tag was too high; the Senate GOP also wanted to attach an amendment imposing new sanctions on Iran. President Barack Obama has said he would veto any new sanctions.

The bill would have allowed all veterans -- even those without an injury suffered while serving -- to access VA hospitals and clinics. It would also have made more veterans able to attend public universities at in-state tuition rates and taken steps to try and cut the long backlog of claims at the VA.