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House Approves $343 Billion Defense Bill - 2001-09-26


The Republican-led House of Representatives has approved 398-17, a $343 billion defense spending bill for the next fiscal year. The measure includes an amendment that transfers $400 million from missile defense programs to anti-terrorism efforts.

The House passed by voice vote the amendment shifting funds from missile defense to anti-terrorism efforts.

President Bush had requested $8.3 billion for his proposed missile defense program. The House action would reduce that amount to $7.9 billion.

The amendment's co-sponsor, Democrat Ike Skelton of Missouri, noted that some lawmakers still have concerns over the viability of the proposed missile shield. But he said there is no disagreement over the need to do more to combat terrorism in the wake of the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon earlier this month.

"While I support missile defense, we have clear differences on how rapid and wide-ranging the research effort should be," Congressman Skelton said. "But those differences pale next to our common goal of enhancing the security of our country from its most proximate threat."

Another amendment approved by the House 242 to 173 would allow the Attorney General and Treasury Secretary to deploy military troops to assist in border patrol efforts.

The overall defense spending bill, which awaits Senate action, is $33 billion more than the current defense budget.

The measure also includes money for a five to 10 percent pay raise for military service personnel, the largest such pay increase in nearly two decades.

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