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Obama signs defense authorization act


08:36, January 04, 2013

WASHINGTON, Jan. 3 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama has signed the National Defense Authorization Act of the 2013 fiscal year, the White House said on Thursday.

According to the White House, Obama signed the bill while vacationing in Hawaii. In a statement, Obama said while he supports the vast majority of the provisions contained in the act, he does not agree with them all, including Congress' refusal to let Pentagon retire unneeded ships and aircraft, as well as limits on the military to transfer detainees at the Guantanamo detention facility.

The president also complained certain provisions in the bill could "interfere with my constitutional authority to conduct the foreign relations of the United States," and said his administration would interpret and implement these provisions in a manner that "does not interfere with my constitutional authority to conduct diplomacy."

The sweeping bill covers the Pentagon's cost of ships, aircraft, weapons and military personnel as well as the war efforts in Afghanistan. It consists of 528 billion dollars for the Defense Department's base budget, 17 billion dollars for defense and nuclear programs in the Energy Department and 88 billion dollars for overseas war costs.

The measure also tightens sanctions on Iran, increases security for U.S. diplomatic missions after the attack on U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and contains language regarding the conflict in Syria, requesting the Pentagon to report to Congress on possible military options.

The budget also has two controversial sections relating to arms sales to Taiwan and the Diaoyu Islands, which are China's inherent territories. The two clauses are both written as "sense of Senate, " which means they have no binding power over the president.

The bill passed the Congress amid chaos over the fiscal cliff negotiations late last year, and was delivered to the White House over the weekend. Obama took it with him to Hawaii when he left town after clinching the fiscal cliff deal.

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