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$612B Defense Policy Bill Clears House

Capitol_BuildingThe House voted 270-156 Thursday to pass a bill that authorizes $612 billion in Defense Department spending for this fiscal year, The Hill newspaper reported Thursday.

Kristina Wong and Rebecca Kheel write the passage came after a bipartisan conference committee reconciled the House and Senate versions of the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act.

Senators plan to take up the NDAA next week despite a veto threat from the White House, according to the newspaper.

President Barack Obama threatened to reject the bill because the administration and Democratic leaders believe the legislation seeks to use a proposed $38 billion war fund to sidestep sequestration.

The NDAA would reform the U.S. military retirement system, increase prescription drug copays under Tricare and set a 1.3 percent salary hike for military personnel in fiscal 2016, Leo Shane of Military Times reported.

Shane said the legislation also calls on the Pentagon to adopt new weapon acquisition strategies and includes provisions to block closing of detention facilities at a U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and another round of base closures.

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