U.S. Senate passes its version of defense budget

09:57, December 23, 2010      

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The U.S. Senate on Wednesday passed its version of the defense authorization bill, sending it back to the House.

The Senate version of the bill retained much of the House bill, which passed last Friday, including 158.7 billion dollars for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Senate passed the 725-billion-dollar bill with a voice vote.

The Senate bill stripped one provision about payments to World War II residents and survivors in Guam, sending it back to the House for reconsideration.

The defense bill is a compromise between Democrats and Republicans, with almost no controversial items left.

Major provisions that have been stripped from the bill include repealing the "don't ask, don't tell" policy which prevents gays from serving openly in the military, as well as a provision allowing for abortions to be performed in military hospitals.

The repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" was passed as a stand- alone bill, and was signed by President Barack Obama on Wednesday.

The bill also would continue to restrict transfer of military detainees from the Guantanamo Bay prison to the United States, a major setback for Obama's effort to close the prison.

Source: Xinhua

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