The House approved a defense bill Wednesday night that slashes President Bush's budget request for "Star Wars" and barely keeps alive the B-2 Stealth bomber program.
By a vote of 271-156, the House adopted the bill despite Republican doubts that it meets the Pentagon's needs for the post-Cold War era and Democrats' concerns about building costly weapons to counter a lessening Soviet threat. (Utah's three congressmen voted against the bill.)The legislation sets spending ceilings for the fiscal year that began Oct. 1 totaling $288 billion, or $19 billion less than Bush sought in his original proposal in January.
The total is $5.5 billion more than the House approved in September, a change made to meet the levels set in the budget resolution adopted by Congress earlier this month.
The legislation goes to the Senate, which is expected to pass the bill. Defense Secretary Dick Cheney has said he supports the legislation and presidential approval is likely.
The legislation calls for $2.9 billion for the Strategic Defense Initiative, $1.8 billion less than Bush sought for SDI and $700 million less than Congress approved last year.