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The House passed the National Defense Authorization Act on Friday, a bill that authorizes $612 billion in government funding for programs at the Department of Defense.
The vote was 269-151 and the measure, which faces a White House veto threat, now heads to the Senate. The Senate Armed Services Committee completed a closed mark-up of their version of the bill on Thursday and it’s not clear when that chamber will consider their version on the Senate floor.
The National Defense Authorization Act is not without controversy.
On Thursday, the House passed an amendment offered by Rep. Mo Brooks, an Alabama Republican, which removed language included in the National Defense Authorization Act related to giving young immigrants who have been given Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival status the ability to serve in the military.
The amendment passed 221-202, with no Democrats supporting it. Twenty Republicans voted against the measure.
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, criticized Democrats yesterday for speaking out against the National Defense Authorization Act, telling reporters "This shouldn't be a tough vote."
"Incredibly, after helping to pass this bill through committee by a vote of 60 to two, Democrat leaders have pulled their support," Boehner told reporters on Thursday. "So let me be clear. This vote is about whether you support our men and women in uniform."
Democrats were quick to counter that Boehner opposed the National Defense Authorization Act in 2010 due to the inclusion of an amendment to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."
"One of the Republicans who voted against the defense bill (in 2010) was the now Speaker of the House, John Boehner," House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said yesterday, "So the sanctimony of saying we should be ashamed if we're not voting for the defense bill - as our ranking member has said: Do you feel the shame yourself because you voted against it?"