UPDATE 2-U.S. Senate passes $602 billion defense authorization bill

martes 14 de junio de 2016 19:45 GYT

(Adds details on vote, background on election)

By Patricia Zengerle

WASHINGTON, June 14 (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday to pass a $602 billion defense authorization bill, despite President Barack Obama's threat to veto the annual policy measure over issues including a ban on closing the Guantanamo Bay military prison.

The vote was 85-13, far more than the majority needed to pass the 100-member Senate. Six Republicans and seven members of the Democratic caucus voted against the bill, which authorizes military spending for the fiscal year that begins on Oct. 1.

Obama gave a long list of objections to the versions of the bill passed by the Senate and House of Representatives, including provisions making it more difficult to close the detention center at the Guantanamo Bay naval base in Cuba and the use of funds specially designated for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to allow the military to avoid mandatory spending limits.

The Senate's version of the National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, now must be reconciled with the one passed by the House last month before it can be sent to Obama. The House bill also faces a veto threat.

If the bill is finished before November, when every member of the House and one-third of the Senate is up for re-election, a veto could prove challenging for Democrats.

Obama's party is trying to keep the White House, and hopes to regain the Senate majority it lost in 2014, if not control of the House. But Democrats perpetually battle accusations from Republicans that they are soft on defense, a fight that could be more difficult if they block the major Pentagon policy bill.