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U.S. House passes Pentagon budget

(Xinhua)

09:45, July 20, 2012

WASHINGTON, July 19 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday evening passed next year's defense budget in a massive 607-billion-U.S.-dollar bill that would fund the Pentagon and pay war costs from October, 2012, to September, 2013.

The Republican-controlled House approved the measure in a 326-90 vote, after two days of debate and several amendments. The bill increases Pentagon base funding by about 1 billion dollars over the 2012 levels, to 519 billion dollars, but cut war funding by 27 billion dollars , to about 88.5 billion dollars.

The House version of the Pentagon budget has to be reconciled with the Senate version before it could be presented to President Barack Obama for his signature.

The Democratic-controlled Senate has made clear its opposition to the House bill, saying it broke a spending deal reached last year. The House bill is 3 billion dollars above the Pentagon's request, and 8 billion dollars above the spending caps in last year's Budget Control Act. The Senate is unlikely to take up the bill until August.

Even if the Senate passes the bill, the White House has vowed to veto it in its current form. Except for breaking the spending cap, the House bill also restored weapons programs Pentagon sought to terminate, and blocked cuts the Pentagon sought to make.

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