House votes overwhelmingly to pass $700 billion defense bill

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WASHINGTON -- (WTVY) House Republicans and Democrats joined forces to approve an annual defense policy bill that authorizes $700 billion for the Pentagon and orders a more rapid buildup of the nation's missile defenses.
Lawmakers voted 356-70 to pass the legislation. Once the Senate approves the measure, which it's expected to do, the bill will be sent to President Donald Trump for his signature.
The defense bill allots just over $634 billion for core Pentagon operations and nearly $66 billion for wartime missions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and elsewhere. The funding boost pays for more troops and weapons the bill's backers say are needed to halt an erosion of the military's combat readiness.
The legislation includes $12.3 billion for the Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency to counter the advancing nuclear threat from North Korea.