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National Briefing / WASHINGTON, D.C.

Senate OKs huge defense spending bill

September 18, 2008|From Times Wire Reports

The Senate passed a massive defense bill that includes a pay raise for military personnel despite Republican objections to billions of dollars in special projects lawmakers had added. The vote was 88 to 8.

The measure would permit $612.5 billion in spending for national defense programs in 2009, including $70 billion for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. It includes a 3.9% pay increase for military personnel, half a percentage point more than President Bush requested. A separate bill will have to be passed to appropriate the money.

The House passed its own version of the spending bill in May, which must be reconciled with the Senate version before the legislation is sent to the White House.

Republican presidential nominee John McCain of Arizona, Democratic nominee Barack Obama of Illinois and Obama's running mate, Joe Biden of Delaware, were absent.

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