- Associated Press - Friday, December 2, 2016

WASHINGTON (AP) - The $611 billion defense policy bill calls for $3.2 billion beyond what President Barack Obama requested to help halt what lawmakers say has been a steep decline in the ability of the U.S. armed forces to respond to global threats.

Below are several other key provisions in the fiscal year 2017 defense bill:

GUANTANAMO: The bill prohibits Obama from closing the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Detainees also are barred from being moved to secure facilities in the U.S.

STOPS TROOP DRAWDOWN: The Pentagon is blocked from making planned reductions in the number of active-duty troops. The Army is prohibited from falling below 476,000 soldiers. The bill also adds 7,000 service members to the Air Force and Marine Corps.

PAY RAISE: The troops are awarded a 2.1 percent pay raise. That’s a half-percentage point higher than the Pentagon requested.

NO BASE CLOSURES: The bill rejects a Pentagon plan to begin a new round of military base closures.

GUARD BONUSES: The bill includes an agreement that prevents thousands of California National Guard troops from being forced to repay enlistment bonuses and benefits.

WARTIME OPERATIONS: The legislation includes the $5.8 billion in additional war-related funding Obama asked for last month. The extra money includes $2.5 billion to maintain elevated U.S. troop levels of 8,400 in Afghanistan. About $383 million would pay for air strikes against Islamic State militants.

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