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Senate Clears Defense Authorization Bill

On June 18, the Senate completed its consideration of the FY2016 National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 1735), as amended, approving the measure by a vote of 71-25. The Senate Armed Services Committee approved an earlier version of the legislation (S. 1376) on May 14 (see The Source, 5/15/15). The House approved its version of H.R. 1735 on May 15 (see The Source, 5/15/15).

According to the committee report, the bill would authorize $496.487 billion for the Department of Defense (DoD), $18.736 billion for national security programs at the Department of Energy, and $88.9 billion for overseas contingency operations for a total of $604.123 billion in FY2016. Military personnel programs would be authorized at $135.48 billion; military construction projects would receive $8.306 billion, which includes $1.413 billion for family housing.

The bill includes several provisions to improve legal services for, and representation of, victims of military sexual assault (pp. 120-122). The legislation also includes $30 million in impact aid for local education agencies with military dependent students and children with severe disabilities (p. 91).

During consideration of the bill, the Senate adopted an amendment by Sens. Robert Casey (D-PA) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) to require DoD to support the security of Afghan women and girls during and after 2015.

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