David Alexander
May 24, 2012

A Senate panel voted on Thursday to authorize $631.4 billion in defense spending for the 2013 fiscal year, blocking plans to cut the Air Force and ordering offsetting reductions in Pentagon civilian personnel to stay within the president’s budget limits.

The Senate Armed Services Committee approved a defense policy bill that would authorize a base Pentagon budget of $525.8 billion along with $88.2 billion for the Afghanistan war and other overseas operations. The panel also authorized $17.3 billion for Energy Department nuclear weapons programs.

The measure – the National Defense Authorization Act – is expected to go to the full Senate in June at the earliest. After passage there, it would have to be reconciled with the version approved last week by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives before going to Obama for his signature.

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