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June 24, 2004

Senate passes defense spending bill

Thumbs up:
*$447 billion total (97-0 in favor)

Including:

*$25 billion for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan
*$70 billion for planes, ships and weapons, "surpassing even the buildup of the 1980s"
*3.5% military pay raise along with increases in other benefits
*$10.2 billion for planned missile defense program, for which operational tests must begin in 2005
*Go-ahead for further research on 2 new nuclear weapons: a low-yield "mini-nuke" and a high-yield "bunker buster"

Thumbs down:

* Ted Kennedy's proposal to require the administration to report to Congress on progress in Iraq, including estimates of the number of U.S. troops who will be there at the end of next year. (50 to 48 against)
* Tom Daschle's proposal to guarantee annual increases in veterans' health benefits. (49 to 48 in favor, needed 60 to pass)

Thanks to the Republicans...

* Operational tests of Star Wars WILL NOT be conducted by an independent testing office
* Spending for new weaponry WILL NOT be contingent on any test results
* NONE of the Star Wars money will redirected towards homeland security
* War profiteering will NOT become a crime
* Private contractors will STILL be allowed to interrogate prisoners

Click here to read the full text of the Washington Post article summarized in this post.

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