US Senate passes $631 billion defence bill
WASHINGTON (PAN): The United States Senate on Tuesday passed the $631 billion defence bill, which among other things requires the US Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman to submit to Congress an assessment of the risk to US mission and security interests associated to reduction of American forces in Afghanistan.
“This bill will enable our armed forces to continue to take the battle to Al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups. Just as importantly, it keeps Democrats’ promises by supporting President (Barack) Obama’s plan to bring our troops home from Afghanistan,” the Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said after the passage of the bill.
The Defense Authorization Bill was passed by 98-0 by the Senate.
"It is only the second time in 50 years there has been a unanimous vote on a defence authorization bill," said Senator Carl Levin, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
“It provides the resources, training, equipment and authorities necessary for our military to succeed in Afghanistan and provides continued support to the Afghanistan National Security Forces as they assume increased responsibility throughout Afghanistan,” added Senator John McCain.
The House of Representatives has already passed the Defense Authorization Bill and since there were differences on the two versions of the bill, it now goes to the House-Senate conference committee that needs to sort out the differences.
The White House has threatened to veto the bill, if the series of measures, including restrictions on detainee transfers to foreign countries in the House version of the measure make it into the final bill.
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