CONGRESS PASSES MASSIVE DEFENSE SPENDING BILL
With a proposed 3.2 billion dollar increase in military spending, the 2016 bill, the last of Obama's presidency, passed by the US Congress now goes to the White House for veto or to be signed into law. The U.S. Senate overwhelmingly passed a compromise version of an annual defense policy bill on Thursday without controversial provisions such as requiring women to register for the draft or allowing contractors to make religion-based hiring decisions. Ninety-two senators backed the $618.7 billion National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, and seven opposed it. The bill also bars closures of military bases, although top Pentagon officials say they have too much capacity, and it blocks planned reductions in active-duty troop numbers.And it continues policies that bar transfers of prisoners to U.S. soil from the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, which Obama had hoped to close. While his administration has shipped most inmates from the controversial prison, the Democrat is not expected to accomplish his goal of shuttering it before he leaves office Jan. 20.Obama's successor, Republican Donald Trump, wants to keep Guantanamo open, and expand it.