President Signs Defense Authorization Bill

President Obama has signed H.R. 6523, the Fiscal 2011 defense authorization bill, into law. The Senate and House reached consensus on the legislation in late December. It authorizes $724.6 billion for national defense, including $548.2 billion for the Pentagon’s base budget, $158.7 billion for military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, and $17.7 billion for Energy Department national security activities. The bill is named “The Ike Skelton National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011” in honor of the long-serving Missouri Democrat and former House Armed Services Committee chairman who lost his re-election bid last November. Obama wasn’t happy about language in the bill barring the Administration from using funds to transfer Guantanamo detainees into the United States or foreign countries. Nonetheless, he said he signed the bill “because of the importance of authorizing appropriations for, among other things, our military activities in 2011.” (Obama statement)