Defense Policy Bill Goes to President

The Senate on Thursday approved the conference version of the Fiscal 2012 defense authorization bill by a vote of 86 to 13, clearing the legislation for President Obama’s desk for signature. The Senate’s vote came one day after the House passed the same bill by a 283-136 vote. Both legislative chambers concluded their conference on Monday where they hashed out the bill’s final version. H.R. 1540 authorizes $662.4 billion for national defense programs. That’s $26.6 billion less than the Pentagon’s request because it reflects the cut imposed by the Budget Control Act, which became law this summer, months after the Defense Department submitted its Fiscal 2012 spending proposal. Included in this topline are $530.0 billion for DOD’s base budget ($23.1 billion less than the request), $115.5 billion for overseas contingency operations like the war in Afghanistan ($2.4 billion less) and $16.9 billion for Energy Department national security activities ($1.1 billion less). Among its myriad clauses, the legislation allows the Air Force to retire six B-1B bombers, adds measures to protect DOD’s supply chain from counterfeit electronic parts, and requires all F-35 low-rate production contracts from the sixth lot on to be fixed-price agreements. (Bill summary)