Senate passes $630 billion Pentagon bill

The Pentagon building is the headquarters of the US Department of Defense, located in Arlington, Virginia and is the symbol of the US military.

The United States Senate has approved a massive $632.8 billion worth of military spending, including $80.7 billion for the war in Afghanistan and $17.6 billion for nuclear weapons programs.

The Senate Thursday passed the National Defense Authorization Act, 84-15. The House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed the bill last week on a strong bipartisan vote.

The spending measure for the 2014 fiscal year will now go to President Barack Obama for his signature.

The House and Senate Armed Services Committees had each passed their own version of the bill in June. During late November, Republicans and Democrats on the committees worked out a compromise bill that incorporated elements of their competing versions.

The bill would authorize everything from overall spending on wars and military salary to procurement of weapons systems and military-related foreign policy issues.

It also includes more than 30 provisions aimed at overhauling the Pentagon’s response to sex crimes, giving greater support to victims and reforming the military justice code to enable a tougher response to sexual assaults.

The Pentagon has estimated that 26,000 members of the military may have been sexually assaulted last year, though thousands were afraid to come forward for fear of inaction or retaliation.

The huge military budget comes as US lawmakers are considering a compromise five-year farm bill that would cut the food stamp program by $8 billion over the next 10 years.

The Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program provides food stamps for nearly 48 million Americans.

On Wednesday, the Senate gave final passage to a two-year budget plan that keeps the government funded at over $1 trillion a year through 2015 and avoids potential government shutdowns in January and again in October.

The budget plan gives sequester relief of $22 billion to the Pentagon in fiscal 2014 while allowing unemployment benefits for 1.3 million Americans to expire.

AHT/HJ

Source: Press TV