WASHINGTON – The House passed a massive $662 billion defense bill Wednesday night after last-minute changes placated the White House and ensured President Barack Obama’s ability to prosecute terrorist suspects in the civilian justice system.
The vote was 283-136 and reflected the strong support for annual legislation that authorizes money for the men and women of the military as well as weapons systems and the millions of jobs they generate in lawmakers’ districts.
It was a rare instance of bipartisanship in a bitterly divided Congress. The Senate is expected to pass the measure today and send it to Obama.
The bill begins a reduction in defense spending, a reality the Pentagon hasn’t faced in the decade since the Sept. 11 attacks. Pentagon spending has nearly doubled in that period, but the deficit-reduction plan that Obama and congressional Republicans backed this summer sets the Defense Department on a budget-cutting course.
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