View Full Version : U.S. House Approves Massive Military Spending Bill

12-17-2009, 08:57 AM
US House approves massive military spending bill



The US House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a massive military spending bill to defray annual expenses, fund operations in Afghanistan, and pay for the troop withdrawal from Iraq.

Lawmakers voted 395 to 34 for the 636.3-billion-dollar package, which does not include monies for President Barack Obama's recently announced decision to send 30,000 more US troops to Afghanistan in a bid to turn that conflict around.

The Senate was expected to act on the measure soon.

The bill includes 101.1 billion dollars for operations and maintenance and military personnel requirements in Iraq and Afghanistan and to carry out the planned withdrawal of all US combat forces from Iraq by August 2010.

The package also funds the purchase of 6,600 new Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) armored vehicles configured to better resist improvised explosive devices -- roadside bombs used to deadly effect by insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The bill includes 80 million dollars to acquire more unmanned "Predator" drones, a key tool in the US air war in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

That campaign deploys unmanned Predator and larger Reaper drones equipped with infrared cameras and armed with precision-guided bombs and Hellfire missiles.

With little public debate in the United States, the pace of the drone bombing raids has steadily increased, starting last year during ex-president George W. Bush's final months in office and now under Obama's tenure.

The spending bill upholds Obama's ban on torture of detainees in US custody, continues a general provision forbidding the establishment of permanent bases in Iraq or Afghanistan, and provides no funds to close the prison for suspected terrorists at Guantanamo Bay.