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Senate unanimously passes defense authorization

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The U.S. Senate unanimously approved a $631 billion defense spending bill Tuesday that provides $88 billion for the war in Afghanistan and other expenditures through the end of the 2013 fiscal year.

The bill, which passed 98-0, now must be reconciled with a separate version previously approved by the House of Representatives before it can be sent to President Obama for his signature.

The federal government’s fiscal calendar runs from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal said the bill authorizes the procurement of an additional Virginia-class submarine, 29 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) aircraft engines, and 96 helicopters, all of which he said would be made in Connecticut.

“I am proud that this comprehensive measure means more support for men and women in uniform who serve and sacrifice for our nation, and more jobs and economic growth for our state as it supports weapons and defense products made in Connecticut,” Blumenthal said in a prepared statement.

Sen. Joe Lieberman said in a statement that he was “proud to cast one of the final votes of my Senate career in support of the (fiscal year) 2013 National Defense Authorization Act.”

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