Stars and Stripes – The House on Friday passed an annual defense policy bill that includes the largest troop pay raise in six years and puts the brakes on an Army drawdown. The vote means the $619 billion National Defense Authorization Act – along with the 2.1 percent raise and an order to keep 476,000 soldiers in the Army — cleared its first legislative hurdle after being unveiled this week. Now, it is headed for a Senate vote next week and then must be signed by President Barack Obama.

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