Congress clears $662 billion defense bill

AP – Congress passed a massive $662 billion defense bill Thursday after months of wrangling over how to handle captured terrorist suspects without violating Americans’ constitutional rights. A last-minute compromise produced a truce but lawmakers said the fight’s not over. The Senate voted 86-13 for the measure and will send it to President Barack Obama for his signature. The bill would authorize money for military personnel, weapons systems, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and national security programs in the Energy Department for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1. The legislation is $27 billion less than Obama wanted and $43 billion less than Congress gave the Pentagon this year, a reflection of deficit-driven federal budgets, the end of the Iraq war and the drawdown in Afghanistan. Read Article