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House passes 1.6 percent pay raise for military

The House has passed a 1.6 percent pay raise for military personnel.

The raise was part of the $648 billion defense spending bill that boosts the budget by $17 billion starting Oct. 1, the beginning of fiscal year 2012. The House vote on Friday was 336-87.

Federal employees not in the military currently face a two-year pay freeze.

Reuters reports the House bill includes $5.9 billion to buy 32 of Lockheed Martin’s radar-evading F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, $15.1 billion to build 10 Navy ships and $3.3 billion for 28 Boeing F-18 Super Hornet fighter jets and 12 EA-18 Growlers electronic warfare aircraft.

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The House bill must still be combined with the Senate version of a defense spending plan, which has not been finalized. Reuters reports Congress is still weeks away from approving a final bill to send to President Obama to sign into law.

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The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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