WASHINGTON — A sweeping defense policy bill that would give the president authority to expand the campaign against Islamic militants has cleared a major hurdle.
The Senate voted 85-14 to move ahead on the bill. That's despite Republicans objections to a provision to designate 250,000 acres of new wilderness.
The bill would authorize training and equipping of moderate Syrian rebels for two years. The bill provides $5 billion for the fight against Islamic extremists.
A final vote is expected Friday.
The $585 billion bill authorizes money for core defense programs, money for overseas operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and funds for national security programs in the Energy Department, among other things.