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House Approves Defense Authorization Bill

On May 22, the House passed, 384-23, the FY2009 National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 5658). The House Armed Services Committee cleared the measure on May 14 (see The Source, 5/16/08). The Senate Armed Services Committee passed its version (S. 3001) on April 30 (see The Source, 5/2/08); the full Senate is expected to consider the legislation in June.

The bill would authorize $70 billion for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and $124.66 billion for military personnel, which is $587.165 million above the president’s request. The legislation also would authorize $25.4 billion for the Defense Health Program and extend the annuity for surviving spouses of servicemembers who die while serving on active duty. The annuity for surviving spouses was authorized in the FY2008 defense authorization (P.L. 110-181).

During consideration of the bill, the House passed, by voice vote, en bloc an amendment that, in part, would allow a servicemember with a child under the age of 19 to request a deferment of deployment to a combat zone if his or her spouse currently is deployed in a combat zone.

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