House passes sweeping defense policy bill

Reuters News
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Posted: Oct 01, 2015 2:44 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. House of Representatives passed the $612 billion annual defense authorization bill on Thursday, but the measure's future was clouded by a dispute between Republicans and Democrats over government spending policy.

The House voted 270-156 to pass the National Defense Authorization Act, which sets spending policy for the Department of Defense. The vote was largely along party lines, with most Republicans favoring the bill and most Democrats opposing it.

The Senate has not yet voted on the measure.

The White House said on Wednesday that President Barack Obama would veto the bill if it is passed in Congress because of the way it boosts military spending.

The NDAA uses some $90 billion in discretionary funds meant for war spending to allow the Pentagon to sidestep mandatory "sequestration" budget cuts.

Obama and most of his fellow Democrats object to that strategy, calling on Republicans to work out a longer-term budget deal to ease the automatic spending constraints on domestic spending as well as the Pentagon's budget.

(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Frances Kerry)