Obama signs budget, defense bills into law

Windsor Genova – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Washington, DC, United States (4E) – President Barack Obama took a short break from his family holiday vacation in Hawaii Thursday to sign a bipartisan budget, defense spending and other bills into law.

The budget measure authorizes more than $1 trillion in spending for fiscal 2014 and 2015 and replaces $63 billion in sequester cuts over two years with lower benefits for new federal workers and military retirees and higher fees on airlines tickets.

Also signed was the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that authorizes $527 billion in base defense spending, $80 billion for the war in Afghanistan and transfer of Guantanamo Bay detainees to foreign countries. The President said he hopes the NDAA will save money and eventually close the prison facility in Cuba as he promised during the election campaign in 2008.

The NDAA also reofrms the military’s prosecution process for and treatment of sexual assault victims. Military commanders’ can no longer overturn guilty verdicts and retaliation against victims is made a crime.

The other bills Obama signed were the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium Land Transfer Act, Federal Permit Streamlining Pilot Project, Native American Veterans’ Memorial Amendments Act, the increases in the annual rate of pay of the Chief Financial Officer of the District of Columbia, and the five-year extension plus expansion of the Federal Election Commission authority to impose civil money penalties.

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