Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Senate expected to approve sweeping defense bill

WASHINGTON — A comprehensive defense bill that would crack down on sexual assault in the military and add protections for victims headed toward Senate passage Thursday.

The White House expressed support for the legislation, which would provide $552.1 billion for the regular military budget and $80.7 billion for the war in Afghanistan and other overseas operations, a reflection of deficit-driven efforts to trim spending and the drawdown in a conflict lasting more than a decade.

The bill would give President Barack Obama additional flexibility in deciding the fate of terror suspects at the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, but it stops well short of the administration's goal of closing the installation.

"Although the bill includes a number of provisions that restrict or limit the Defense Department's ability to align military capabilities and force structure with the president's strategy and implement certain efficiencies, overall the administration is pleased with the modifications and improvements" that address its objections to earlier versions, the White House said in a statement.

The House overwhelmingly passed the bill last week on a strong bipartisan vote. Senate passage was expected Thursday night.

The legislation would:

• Authorize a 1 percent pay raise for military personnel and cover combat pay and other benefits.

• Strip military commanders of their ability to overturn jury convictions, require a civilian review if a commander declines to prosecute a case and require that any individual convicted of sexual assault face a dishonorable discharge or dismissal. The bill also would provide victims with legal counsel, eliminate the statute of limitations for courts-martial in rape and sexual assault cases, and criminalize retaliation against victims who report a sexual assault.

Senate expected to approve sweeping defense bill 12/19/13 [Last modified: Thursday, December 19, 2013 10:52pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. What happens if you look at the eclipse without glasses? Want a hole in your vision?

    Science

    It's the burning question of the week.

    The solar eclipse Monday will be quite the Carl Sagan, Neal deGrasse Tyson moment for Americans to share. The idea is to walk away without frying your eyeballs.

    Colton Hammer tries out his new eclipse glasses he just bought from the Clark Planetarium in Salt Lake City on Wednesday in preparation for the eclipse on Monday. [Scott G Winterton | Deseret News via AP]
  2. Waterspout forms between Caladesi and Dunedin

    Environment

    A waterspout formed between Caladesi Island and Dunedin earlier today.

    A waterspout formed between Caladesi Island and Dunedin. [Photo via YouTube]
  3. Contractor sues Tampa over troubled Watrous Canal repair project

    Local Government

    TAMPA — City Hall is being sued by the company it hired for a $3.2 million canal-repair project that ran into problems, plaguing neighborhoods along West Shore Boulevard with road closures and traffic delays even as its cost rose by 45 percent.

    A project to repair and improve the Watrous Canal closed West Shore Boulevard last year and is now the subject of a lawsuit between the contractor, Pac Comm of Miami, and the city of Tampa. CHRIS URSO   |   Times (2016)

  4. Salvation Army, Red Cross, Susan G. Komen abandon Trump's Mar-a-Lago

    National

    The Salvation Army, the American Red Cross and Susan G. Komen on Friday joined a growing exodus of organizations canceling plans to hold fundraising events at the Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, deepening the financial impact to President Donald Trump's private business amid furor over his comments on Charlottesville.

    A Secret Service agent stands at President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach in April. [Doug Mills | New York Times]
  5. Grocery chain Aldi hosting hiring event in Brandon Aug. 24

    Retail

    BRANDON — German grocery chain Aldi is holding a hiring event for its Brandon store Aug. 24. It is looking to fill store associate, shift manager and manager trainee positions.