WASHINGTON: The US Congress has passed a $552 billion defence authorisation bill for 2014, which also calls for stopping reimbursements to Pakistan if ground supply routes to Afghanistan are interrupted.
The bill provides $80.7bn for operations in Afghanistan and $1.5bn for reimbursements to Pakistan in 2014, when the United States plans to withdraw most of its combat troops from the region.
The bill is now at the White House for President Barack Obama to sign it into law. The White House has already indicated that the president will sign the bill.
The National Defence Authorisation Act 2014 eases the transfer of detainees from Guantanamo Bay prison camp to their home countries and introduces new measures for cracking down on sexual assaults in the US military.
The compromise legislation, which passed the US Senate by 84-15 on Thursday night, allocates a total of $552.1bn during the fiscal 2014 for military spending on bases and equipment as well as troop training and resources.
The Republican-dominated House of Representatives has already approved the bill.
The bill includes a one-year extension for reimbursing Pakistan for supporting the US-led war against terrorists but it reduces the amount available for reimbursing Pakistan from $1.65bn in 2013 to $1.5bn in 2014.
The bill seeks a certification from the US defence secretary that Pakistan is taking demonstrable actions against Al Qaeda and other militant groups active along the Pak-Afghan border.
The development comes on the heels of US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel’s recent visit to Pakistan during which he was reported to have warned of the mood in the US Congress souring on Pakistan.
The bill also requires Pakistan to disrupt the conduct of cross-border attacks against US, coalition and Afghan security forces in Afghanistan, counter the threat of IEDs and not to persecute religious and ethnic minorities.
The bill authorises President Obama to speed up the transfer of prisoners from Guantanamo Bay to their home countries, a crucial step towards the long-delayed closure of the military prison.
But it retains prohibitions on transferring the detainees to the United States, a provision sought by Republicans.
Some Republicans also tried to attach an amendment imposing tough new economic sanctions on Iran but failed.
The legislation would strip military commanders of their ability to overturn jury convictions in sexual assault trials.