US President Barack Obama has signed the bipartisan budget bill which covers spending levels for the next two fiscal years, according to the White House on Thursday.
Obama signed the bill and several other pieces of legislation while vacationing in Hawaii. The bill, which was crafted by key negotiators of the bipartisan budget panel, cleared both the GOP- led House of Representatives and the Democratic-controlled Senate earlier this month.
The modest accord sets spending levels for the federal governmental departments slightly above 1 trillion U.S. dollars for each of the 2014 and 2015 fiscal years, eliminating 63 billion dollars in the ongoing automatic spending cuts, known as the sequester.
Increase in the outlays would be offset by a variety of spending savings and revenue generators, including requiring federal employees to contribute more to their pensions and raising some government fees, which would total 85 billion dollars in a decade. In all, the deal would lower the budget deficit by more than 20 billion dollars over a decade.
According to the White House, Obama also signed the defense authorization act for 2014 fiscal year on Wednesday. The bill authorizes appropriations for Department of Defense programs and military construction, Department of Energy national security programs and related spending at other agencies.
It approves over 600 billion dollars for the Pentagon in the 2014 fiscal year, including baseline budget and spending for ongoing operations in the war against terrorists.
One notable feature of the bill is that it deals with sexual assault in the military, stripping military commanders of the ability to overturn jury convictions in military sexual assault cases and criminalize retaliation against a victim of sexual assault in the military.
In a statement, Obama said "he was encouraged that this Act provides the Executive greater flexibility to transfer Guantanamo detainees abroad, and look forward to working with the Congress to take the additional steps needed to close the facility."