Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

House Passes Defense Bill Limiting Clinton's Power

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

House Passes Defense Bill Limiting Clinton's Power

Article excerpt

A $265 billion defense bill aimed at increasing weapons spending while restricting presidential power to deploy troops wwas passed by the House Friday by a vote of 267-149.

President Bill Cinton has threatened to veto the measure, which is $7 billion larger than he asked for, and authorizes ships, warplanes and missiles he did not request.

The measure now goes to the Senate. Among the specific provisions of the bill:

It requires the president to certify a national security need before placing U.S. troops under United Nations command.

It prohibits abortions at overseas military hospitals and requires the automatic discharge of service members who test positive for the AIDS virus.

Turns the Army's 92-year-old Civilian Marksmanship Program over to a private, nonprofit corporation.

It also specifies deployment of a national missile defense system by 2003, intended to shield the country against attacks by rogue governments.

The White House says the provision may annul the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty with Russia.

"This is unnecessary and discriminatory," Rep. Ronald Dellums, D-Calif., said of the AIDS provision. "It would preclude the military from using personnel who are completely professional in their jobs."

The abortion provision, he said, was incorporated into the bill without hearings on it.

But Rep. Bob Dornan, R-Calif., said hearings weren't needed because "every single military doctor in Europe and the Pacific does not want to crush a baby's skull in the mother's womb and abort them."

If a veto occurs and Congress fails to find some other solution, a 2.4 percent military pay raise and a 5.2 percent housing allowance increase for married service personnel, both due to take effect Jan. 1, would be placed on hold.

If the bill wins Senate passage, little time would remain to settle differences between the president and Congress, which is scheduled to recess for the year at the end of next week. …

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