U.S. Senate to Vote on $662 Billion Defense Plan

December 15, 2011

The U.S. Senate may vote as early as today to approve a $662 billion defense authorization measure and send it to President Barack Obama to be signed into law.

The House of Representatives yesterday passed the legislation, which seeks to control rising costs of the Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT) F-35 jet, the Pentagon’s most expensive weapons program. The vote was 283-136 on the bill, which sets military policy and spending targets for the fiscal year that started Oct. 1.

Endorsed by negotiators from the House and Senate on Dec. 12, the measure also mandates that members of al-Qaeda be placed in military detention and includes a provision passed by the Senate to impose sanctions on Iran’s central bank.

“We have demanded more accountability from nations like Iran; we have aided our forces fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan; and we look to emerging issues, like proliferation and cyber threats,” said Representative Howard P. “Buck” McKeon, the California Republican who heads the House Armed Services Committee. “We have assured that the Department of Defense will be a more efficient steward of the taxpayer dollar”

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