National

Dec 16, 2009 4:08 PM by Associated Press

House passes defense bill, rushes toward recess

The House has passed a $636 billion Pentagon spending bill that funds the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and provides a 3.4 percent pay hike for military personnel.

Approving the defense bill was one of several major must-do tasks the House must address before its planned adjournment for the year at the end of the day. To accomplish that, Democratic leaders attached to the defense bill numerous temporary extensions of programs about to expire at the end of the year.

Those included two-month extensions for federal highway programs and unemployment benefits.

The defense bill includes $128 billion for the war efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, but does not have money for the troop surge in Afghanistan recently ordered by President Barack Obama.

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