House passes $717B Pentagon policy measure

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House has passed a $717 billion defense policy bill that would give the military a 2.6 percent pay hike, the largest in nine years.

The bipartisan 351-66 vote sends the measure to the Senate, where a key panel completed a companion measure in a closed-door session on Wednesday.

The annual measure sets policies and a budget outline for the Pentagon that are funded by a subsequent appropriations bill that typically follows its parameters fairly closely.

The military got a major budget increase under the terms of a bipartisan pact passed earlier this year that the Pentagon's many allies in Washington promise will address shortfalls in military readiness such as pilot training, maintenance of equipment, and procurement of new weapons systems.