House backs defense bill with large pay raise for troops

The $716 billion defense policy bill would give military personnel a 2.6 percent pay hike, the largest in nine years

House backs defense bill with large pay raise for troops

The House has approved a $716 billion defense policy bill that would give military personnel a 2.6 percent pay hike, the largest in nine years. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Zoe M. Wockenfuss)

By Matthew Daly
Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The House has approved a $716 billion defense policy bill that would give military personnel a 2.6 percent pay hike, the largest in nine years.

The compromise bill also weakens a bid to clamp down on the Chinese telecom giant ZTE and allows the president to waive sanctions against countries that have bought Russian weapons but now want to buy U.S. military equipment.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis sought the waiver, saying it would help countries such as India that are seeking to "pull away from the Russian orbit."

The bill does not fund President Donald Trump's request for a new "Space Force."

The bill was negotiated by House and Senate lawmakers after competing versions were approved in each chamber.

It was approved, 359-54, and now goes to the Senate.

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