Senate Approves $650B Defense Bill 

12/5/2012 

The U.S. Senate on Dec. 4 unanimously authorized the Pentagon to spend $650 billion in fiscal 2013, slightly less than requested by the Obama administration in February.

With deep Pentagon cuts slated to kick in Jan. 2, the Senate, by a 98-0 vote, authorized $525.3 billion in baseline military spending, trimming only a small chunk from the administration’s $525.4 billion request. The upper chamber’s bill also authorizes $88.5 billion more for ongoing wars.

A House-Senate conference committee will begin work almost immediately as they race to get a final version of the legislation to the president’s desk. The legislation mostly supports the administration’s plans for most of the armed services’ weapon systems.

Once the upper chamber finishes work on the Pentagon policy bill, a House-Senate conference committee will would be tasked with ironing out myriad differences between the two chambers’ versions of the legislation.

A senior House Armed Services Committee aide told Defense News last week that members of that committee are prepared to quickly begin the House-Senate conference those committee negotiations that would have to hammer out differences in the two bills and send a final version to the president by the end of the month.

Both chambers are expected to adjourn around Dec. 24, but could return after Christmas to finish other work, such as a fiscal cliff-avoidance package.

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