House passes defense bill backing Obama's expansion of military operations against extremists

Associated Press

The House has voted for a $585 billion defense bill that grants President Barack Obama the authority to expand the U.S. military mission against Islamic militants in Iraq and Syria.

The vote on Thursday was 300-119. The measure now heads to the Senate where several Republicans have objected to the bill's inclusion of unrelated provisions to expand wilderness areas.

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Still, Senate passage is expected in the final days of the lame-duck session.

The sweeping bill authorizes core funding for military operations, including a 1 percent pay raise for the troops. It maintains the prohibition on transferring terror suspects from the federal prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to the United States.

The bill authorizes the training and equipping of moderate Syrian rebels.