WASHINGTON — The Senate gave final congressional approval Friday to the nation's first post-Cold War defense budget, a $268-billion package that calls for modest cuts in weapons systems.
By a vote of 80 to 17, the Senate adopted legislation that represents a $14-billion reduction from spending in the last fiscal year but is far less than the reduction Congress clamored for when the Warsaw Pact was collapsing.
"This budget has as its primary goal to help protect our nation against the threat that we face in a dangerous world," said Sen. Sam Nunn (D-Ga.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. He cited the Soviet Union's continued modernization of its strategic forces and Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in arguing against drastic cuts in military spending.
The legislation now goes to the White House, where President Bush's approval was expected. Shortly after the vote, the Senate adopted the budget's companion authorization bill.
The legislation does not terminate any weapons in the Pentagon's arsenal and continues limited production of the B-2 Stealth bomber.
Among the other provisions in the bill are:
--A cut of $2 billion from Bush's budget request of $4.7 billion for the proposed anti-missile shield commonly known as "Star Wars."
--A troop reduction of about 80,000 from the 2.1-million level of active duty personnel. The Administration had suggested a cut of about 38,000.
--The creation of a $680-million budget for land-based nuclear missiles. Bush proposed $2.2 billion for MX missiles and a plan to move them from fixed silos to railroad cars and $202 million for the development of the Midgetman missile.
The legislation also doubles the call-up period for combat reserves to 360 days from 180 days.