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Vets Center waits on bill in Congress

By Maria Hickey, KWMU

St. Louis, MO. – A supplemental appropriations bill making its way through Congress may be a last lifeline for the Veterans Business Resource Center in St. Louis.

The center, which helps veterans start their own businesses, is in danger of closing along with two others in Boston and Flint, Michigan because of funding cuts.

Senator Kit Bond of Missouri helped shepherd $200,000 in funding for each center through the Senate Appropriations Committee earlier this week.

The St. Louis center's executive director Patrick Heavey says the money will help the center keep serving veterans.

"It certainly means for the next year we're open and actually able to expand a little bit and it gives us a year to work out funding for the following year," Heavey said.

The appropriations bill still needs full Senate approval, reconciliation with the House version, and the president's signature.

The center's parent non-profit received more than $4-million in federal funding this fiscal year but doled out only $75,000 to the St. Louis office.

A Senate committee is investigating.

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