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Senate passes defense funding bill with no amendments

Dec. 20, 2013 at 1:23 AM   |   Comments

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WASHINGTON, Dec. 20 (UPI) -- The U.S. Senate passed a $630 billion defense spending bill Thursday in an 84-15 vote that barred any changes to the measure that passed the House.

The bill now goes to President Obama, the Wall Street Journal reported. It appropriates $552.1 billion in funding and $80.7 billion for overseas military operations.

While negotiators for the Senate and House agreed to the process earlier this month, some Republicans complained of being denied a chance to push amendments on sanctions for Iran if the current talks on its nuclear program break down. The White House feared the

"The majority leader won't allow a robust amendment process because he can't stomach a vote on Iran sanctions," Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said. "He knows the administration would lose that vote decisively, and he knows that many members of his own party would vote alongside Republicans to strengthen those sanctions."

A proposal by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., to block military commanders from deciding whether sexual assault charges should be brought was also stalled. The bill does contain new language on sexual assaults, including barring commanders from downgrading charges after a sexual assault conviction.

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