Obama to sign defense bill this week

JACKSONVILLE, Florida Mon Oct 26, 2009 5:17pm EDT

President Obama listens to opening remarks before speaking to servicemen and women at Naval Air Station Jacksonville in Florida, October 26, 2009. REUTERS/Jim Young

President Obama listens to opening remarks before speaking to servicemen and women at Naval Air Station Jacksonville in Florida, October 26, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Jim Young

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JACKSONVILLE, Florida (Reuters) - President Barack Obama said on Monday he will sign the defense authorization bill this week.

"To make sure you can meet the missions we ask of you, we're increasing the defense budget, including spending on the Navy and Marine Corps," Obama said in a speech to troops at Naval Air Station Jacksonville.

"This week, I'll sign that defense authorization bill into law," he said.

The Obama administration had threatened to veto the bill, which funds Pentagon operations, because it authorizes several programs the Pentagon had deemed unnecessary. Among those is an F-35 fighter jet engine built by General Electric Co. and Rolls-Royce Group Plc.

Congress has allocated $560 million for that program this year.

"To make sure we're spending our defense dollars wisely, we're cutting tens of billions of dollars in waste and projects that even the military says it doesn't need -- money better spent on taking care of you and your families and building the 21st century military that we do need," Obama said in his speech.

(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle, editing by Stacey Joyce)

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