Obama signs sweeping defense bill

By Josh Lederman

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, Dec. 26 2013 1:57 p.m. MST

President Barack Obama has signed into law a comprehensive defense bill that cracks down on sexual assault in the military.

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HONOLULU — President Barack Obama has signed into law a comprehensive defense bill that cracks down on sexual assault in the military.

The White House says Obama signed the bills Thursday while vacationing in Hawaii.

The bill provides $552.1 billion for the regular military budget, plus $80.7 billion for the Afghanistan war and other overseas operations. It gives military personnel a 1 percent pay raise, but also reflects deficit-driven efforts to trim spending and the drawdown in Afghanistan after more than a decade of fighting there.

The bill signing caps a yearlong campaign led by the women of the Senate to address the scourge of rape and sexual assault in the military. Under the bill, military commanders no longer will be permitted to overturn jury convictions for sexual assault.

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