House approves bill authorizing $633 billion in defense spending

WASHINGTON Thu Dec 20, 2012 9:22pm EST

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. House of Representatives approved the final version of the annual defense policy bill on Thursday, authorizing $633.3 billion in defense spending for 2013, easing limits on satellite exports and providing more Marines for embassy security.

The Republican-controlled House approved the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act by a vote of 315-107. The measure must still be approved by the Senate before it can go to President Barack Obama to be signed into law.

The measure authorizes a Pentagon base budget of $527.5 billion, plus $88.5 billion for overseas operations, primarily the war in Afghanistan. The base budget includes $17.4 billion for defense-related nuclear programs at the Energy Department.

The NDAA sets defense policy for the year. While it authorizes spending levels for different military programs, it does not appropriate the money. That is done under separate legislation in the House and Senate.

In addition to authorizing the size of the military budget, the bill approved a 1.7 pay increase for military personnel and blocked a Pentagon effort to offset rising healthcare costs for retirees by raising some health insurance fees.

The measure eases restrictions on the export of satellites to help U.S. manufacturers, who have seen their global share of the market shrink to less than 25 percent from 65 percent 15 years ago, said Representative Adam Smith, the top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee.

"The cumbersome nature of that regime has significantly harmed U.S. satellite industry," Smith said during debate on the measure. "Getting back to a competitive place with that industry is critical to our national security."

The measure directs Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to develop and implement a plan to increase the number of Marines assigned to embassy and consulate security by up to 1,000.

The move aims to bolster diplomatic security following the death of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens in an attack on the consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

The final bill also allows the Pentagon to continue its efforts to develop biofuels, rejecting a House attempt to prevent the purchase of fuels that are more expensive than petroleum and to place limits on military assistance to companies trying to build commercial scale biofuel refineries.

(Reporting By David Alexander; Editing by Sandra Maler and Stacey Joyce)

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Comments (17)
McBob08 wrote:
They rush to buy bombs and bullets, but ignore the defence of the most needy of Americans; the ones who need protection more than anyone else. As always, the Republicans want the nation to be carried on the backs of the poor and the elderly.

The Death Industry is fully funded, as Americans starve; as millions of American children go to bed without supper. How sick and twisted can you get?

Jesus said nothing about building armies or attacking other human beings. Jesus told us what our #1 priority was — taking care of “the least of us”; if the Republicans want to pretend they represent Christianity in politics, then prove it! Follow God’s word. Provide vigorous support for the poor, the disabled, the disenfranchised. Destroy the notion of Poverty in America. THAT is what Christ demands, not bombs and murder-drones!

Dec 20, 2012 9:51pm EST  --  Report as abuse
xyz2055 wrote:
Here it is folks..for all to see. The Republicans are fighting tooth and nail to keep the lowest tax rates in history in place for the richest in this country and they continue to feed the military industrial complex. This is straight out of Paul Ryan’s “Path to Prosperity” (by now I can only assume you’ve figured out who’s Prosperity Ryan was talking about). Wake up America. Vote out every incumbent in the next election cycle. How much longer will you tolerate this.

Dec 20, 2012 10:06pm EST  --  Report as abuse
xyz2055 wrote:
For 2012, here are the top 15 Defense spending countries in the world. The U.S. in 2012 spent $711B, if you add up the total of what the next 14 countries spent..it’s 706.1B total.

1. US $711 B
2. China $143 B
3. Russia $71.9 B
4. U.K. $62.7 B
5. France $$62.5 B
6. Japan $59.3 B
7. Saudi Arabia $48.2 B
8. India $46.8 B
9. Germany $46.7 B
10. Brazil $35.4 B
11. Italy $34.5 B
12. S. Korea $30.8 B
13. Australia $26.7 B
14. Canada $24.7 B
15. Turkey $17.9 B

And this doesn’t include the Department of Homeland Security. Which employees 240,000 people and has an annual budget of $60.5 B. We spend more on the DHS than most countries spend on total Defense.

Is this really necessary?

Dec 20, 2012 10:30pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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