Defense spending bill headed to Obama

A defense spending bill is on its way to the President’s desk.

The Defense Authorization Act for 2011 passed the House and Senate on voice votes this morning, after Democrats agreed to take out several controversial provisions.

The bill authorizes the Pentagon to spend $725 billion on defense programs in the current fiscal year, including nearly $160 billion on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

It includes a 1.4 percent pay raise for troops and a guarantee that children of service members can stay covered under the military’s TRICARE health care program until they turn 26.

The legislation calls for spending $11.6 billion on the development of Afghan security forces, and $1.5 billion for Iraqi security forces.

The bill also would continue restrictions on the Defense Department’s ability to close Guantanamo Bay. That includes prohibiting the transfer of detainees to the U.S.

In a related development, Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) secured an agreement from Chairman Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) of the Senate Armed Services Committee to hold a hearing on the mix-up in the competition for a new Air Force tanker. Levin said a January hearing will look into the incident. Rival companies Boeing and EADS were sent confidential information on each other’s bids.

This story is part of Federal News Radio’s daily DoD Report. For more defense news, click here.


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