Congress passes defence spending bill
WASHINGTON (AFP) - A sweeping defence bill that authorises Pentagon spending passed Congress late on Thursday, assuring funding through 2014 while easing detainee transfers from Guantanamo and cracking down on sexual assault in the military.
The compromise legislation, which passed 84-15 with broad bipartisan support, allocates some US$552.1 billion for military spending on bases and equipment as well as troop training and resources, and allows for a one per cent raise in military salaries.
The National Defense Authorization Act also provides $80.7 billion for overseas contingency operations, namely the 12-year-old war in Afghanistan.
Passage ensures an NDAA will be signed into law on time for the 53rd consecutive year, something that appeared to be in doubt earlier this month when tussles over other legislation like the recently-passed budget agreement and executive nominations stalled the defence bill.