National

Oct 28, 2009 10:21 AM by Associated Press

Troop pay hike in defense bill to be signed today

President Barack Obama is signing a big defense spending bill today that includes a hefty pay raise for the troops.

The military pay increase of 3.4 percent exceeds inflation and is a half-percent more than even the president asked for. Lawmakers had their way on a number of spending items, though Obama did prevail in his fight to end production on the Cold War-era F-22 fighter.

The $680 billion package also includes a major expansion of federal hate crimes law to cover sexual orientation -- long sought by gay rights advocates. The provision's named for Matthew Shepard, the Wyoming college student killed 11 years ago because he was gay.

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