WASHINGTON, Dec. 12 (Xinhua) -- U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday passed a compromise Defense Authorization bill, approving over 600 billion U.S. dollars for the Defense Department in 2014.
The budget, which passed the lower chamber of Congress with a 350-69 vote, authorizes 552.1 billion dollars for Pentagon's baseline budget, and 80.7 billion dollars for foreign military operations, including the war effort in Afghanistan.
The spending level authorized in the bill is in line with what the Pentagon is asking, and is at about the same level with last year's defense budget. However, it is well above the cap required under next round of sequestration, or automatic budget cuts, which could kick into effect should the spending bill stalled.
One notable feature of the bill is that it deals with sexual assault in the military, stripping military commanders of the ability to overturn jury convictions in military sexual assault cases and criminalize retaliation against a victim of sexual assault in the military.
The budget now heads to the Senate, which is expected to pick it up next week.