The sweeping defense policy bill is now headed to President Obama's desk, with the Senate passing the legislation authorizing about $633 billion in Pentagon programs by a wide 81-14 margin today. It came one day after the House passed it 315-107.
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Many defense-watchers believe President Obama will sign the final version of the fiscal 2013 defense bill, despite the White House's earlier veto threat of the legislation over some of the more controversial provisions. White House press secretary Jay Carney as of Thursday had no update on the Obama administration’s position on the legislation after it emerged from conference committee, where House and Senate leaders compromised on contentious issues that differed in each chamber's respective versions of the bill.
“What we put out is still our position,” Carney said Thursday. But a presidential veto is considered highly unlikely for the must-pass legislation authorizing $527.5 billion for the Pentagon’s base budget and $88.5 billion for the overseas contingency operations account that funds the war in Afghanistan.
The final version of the legislation includes language to restore the Pentagon's ability to invest in green energy; carry out wartime contracting reforms; further sanction Iran's energy, port, shipping, and shipbuilding sectors; and reject the Obama administration’s request to raise fees for the military’s health care system.