- The Washington Times - Friday, December 12, 2014

The Senate passed the annual defense policy bill Friday, sending it to the president for signature.

The bill that will set the military’s priorities for fiscal year 2015 passed by a bipartisan 89-11 vote. The bill passed the House earlier this month on a 300-119 vote.

Some key provisions in the defense bill including authorizing the administration to train and equip Syrian rebels to fight the Islamic State for two years and maintaining a ban on transferring Guantanamo Bay detainees to the U.S. for any reason.

It made only small cuts to personnel programs like Tricare co-pays or basic housing allowance, instead pushing major reforms on those programs to next year, when a commission looking at the programs will have finished its work.

This is the final defense bill for Sen. Carl Levin and Rep. Buck McKeon, both of whom are retiring at the end of this year. It marks the 53rd consecutive year lawmakers have passed the key piece of legislation.

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