House bill plans East Coast missile shield

May 18, 2012 at 2:28 PM
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WASHINGTON, May 18 (UPI) -- The U.S. House passed a $643 billion defense authorization bill for 2013 Friday that would mandate an East Coast missile defense system.

If approved, the system would be built by the end of 2015 to counter threats by North Korea and Iran, Republicans said. The Hill newspaper said the bill includes $100 million next year to plan for the system's site, but the entire system would cost billions more later that has yet to be funded.

The House approved the bill 299-120 after approving dozens of amendments; 77 Democrats supported it and 16 Republicans opposed it.

The National Defense Authorization Act calls for $643 billion in spending for the Defense Department and overseas contingencies -- $8 billion above the spending caps in last year's Budget Control Act and $3.7 billion higher than President Obama's request.

The Hill said the House bill is headed for a showdown with the U.S. Senate, where Democratic leaders are working at authorizing funding at the level called for by the president. The Senate is set to mark up the authorization bill next week in committee.

Republicans have been resisting the $487 billion in funding cuts the Defense Department is planning to make over the next decade as part of the BCA, making more cuts in non-defense spending.

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