HOUSE VOTES TO PASS $700B DEFENSE BILL
Washington — House Republicans and Democrats joined forces Tuesday to decisively approve a defense policy bill that authorizes $700 billion to restock what lawmakers have described as a depleted U.S. military and counter North Korea’s advancing nuclear weapons program. Lawmakers voted 356-70 to pass the legislation, with 127 Democrats backing the measure. Once the defense bill clears the Senate, which is expected this week, the bill will be sent to President Donald Trump for his signature. The defense bill for the 2018 fiscal year allots some $634 billion for core Pentagon operations and nearly $66 billion for wartime missions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and elsewhere. The defense legislation includes $12.3 billion for the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency and orders a more rapid buildup of the nation’s missile defenses as Pyongyang has refused to back away from developing nuclear missiles capable of striking the United States.