US Senate approves $585bn defence bill

GMT 07:20 2014 Saturday ,13 December

Arab Today, arab today US Senate approves $585bn defence bill

U.S. Senate
Washington - XINHUA

The U.S. Senate on Friday passed a sweeping 585-billion-U.S.dollar defense policy bill that will pay for the Pentagon's activities in fiscal 2015, and give President Barack Obama authority to expand the campaign against the Islamic State (IS) militants in Iraq and Syria.
The bill passed on a 89-11 vote, and now heads to Obama's desk to be signed into law.
The bill provides 521.3 billion dollars for the Pentagon's base budget and 63.7 billion dollars in funding for military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.
It includes 5 billion dollars for the fight against the IS forces in Iraq and Syria. The bill also extends for two years a program to train and equip moderate Syrian rebels to take on IS, which Congress approved in September.
The bill maintains a prohibition on transferring detainees from the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba detention facility. The White House opposes that provision, with Obama still seeking to close the prison before leaving office.
The bill also contains changes to the way the military justice system deals with sexual assault, including eliminating the consideration of a defendant's good military career in ruling cases.
Failure to pass the legislation would have gone against Senate tradition. The annual defense bill is one of the few pieces of legislation that has always been renewed on time. Friday's vote marks the 53rd consecutive year it has passed ahead of the deadline.


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