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House Passes Defense Spending Bill: The House last week adopted H.R.2219, its version of the Fiscal 2012 defense appropriations bill by a vote of 336 to 87. The bill contains some $530 billion in base funding (excluding military construction), $9 billion less than President Obama's request, and $119 billion for overseas contingency operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, according to a House Appropriations Committee release. "It was a difficult task to write this bill that is $9 billion below the [Defense] Department's request, but we did so smartly and effectively," said Rep. Bill Young (R-Fla.), chairman of the HAC's defense panel. "In this time of financial crisis, no one should be exempt from tightening their fiscal belts—yet with our national defense, we must do so very carefully, making sure to not impact the warfighter or their mission. I believe this bill does just that." The Senate has not yet completed its version of the spending bill. (H.R. 2219 and HAC report accompanying the bill; caution, large file.)