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Obama signs bipartisan budget deal, defense bill

President Obama speaks to military families in Hawaii. AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster
President Obama speaks to military families in Hawaii. AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

HONOLULU (AP) — Rounding out a tough and frustrating year, President Barack Obama signed a bipartisan budget deal Thursday easing spending cuts and a defense bill cracking down on sexual assault in the military, as the president and Congress began pivoting to the midterm election year ahead.

Obama put his signature on both hard-fought bills while vacationing in Hawaii, where he has been regrouping with his family since Saturday. The bill signing marks one of Obama’s last official acts in a year beset by a partial government shutdown, a near-default by the Treasury, a calamitous health-care rollout and near-perpetual congressional gridlock.

With lawmakers eager to leave town for the holidays and Republicans hoping to keep the focus on problems with Obama’s health-care law, the deal passed with bipartisan support in both the Democratic-controlled Senate and the Republican-controlled House — despite opposition from tea party groups that lined up to oppose it, arguing the deal would raise spending.

The comprehensive defense bill Obama signed will give military personnel a 1 percent pay raise. It also covers combat pay, ships, aircraft and bases. Lawmakers also gave Obama a rare victory in his fight to close Guantanamo Bay, by lifting the most rigid restrictions on transferring detainees overseas as part of the defense bill.

Copyright 2016 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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Nichole Morford

Nichole Morford
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