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Senate Appropriators Approve Defense Spending Bill: The Senate Appropriations Committee on Aug. 2 passed its version of the Fiscal 2013 defense spending bill by a vote of 30 to zero, announced the committee. This clears the way for the full Senate to take up the legislation. The committee adopted the July 31 mark-up of its defense panel that met the President's spending request by providing $604.5 billion for the Pentagon next fiscal year. That total includes $511.2 billion for the Pentagon's base activities and $93.3 billion to fund the war in Afghanistan and other overseas contingency operations, according to the committee's bill summary. Of note, the bill retains the defense panel's language that calls on the Air Force to take a "strategic pause" in making force structure adjustments next fiscal year.