Two days ago the nation thanked its military veterans.

But parades and speeches, though worthwhile expressions, won't help veterans buy a home.

A bill pending in Congress would help.

The U.S. Senate should pass that bill as soon as possible, and President Bush should sign it into law.

The bill, which the House of Representatives approved last week by a 410-0 vote, would boost Oregon's budget for low-cost mortgages for veterans from $10 million per year to $100 million. Those mortgages usually have interest rates one-half to one percent below market levels.

This year the state, due to the $10 million limit, had to reject loan requests from veterans totaling $60 million to $70 million.

The demand for home loans will rise as thousands of veterans return from the Iraq war.

We need to welcome those veterans home with something more lasting than words.