House OKs $638B defense bill

Associated Press


The House passed a sweeping, $638 billion defense bill Friday that imposes new punishments on members of the armed services found guilty of rape or sexual assault as outrage over the crisis in the military has galvanized Congress.

Ignoring a White House veto threat, the Republican-controlled House voted 315-108 for the legislation, which would block President Barack Obama from closing the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and limit his efforts to reduce nuclear weapons.

The House bill containing provisions on sex-related crimes that the Obama administration supports as well as the detention policies that it vigorously opposes must be reconciled with a Senate version before heading to the president’s desk. The Senate measure, expected to be considered this fall, costs $13 billion less than the House bill.

The defense-policy bill authorizes money for ships, weapons, aircraft, personnel and the war in Afghanistan in the fiscal year starting Oct. 1 and blocks the Pentagon from closing domestic bases.

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