Trumpeting a victory against careless spending, US President Barack Obama on Wednesday signed a defense bill that kills some costly US weapons projects and expands war spending. In a major civil rights change, the law also makes it a federal hate crime to assault people based on sexual orientation.
The $680 billion policy bill does not provide any actual dollars, but rather sets guidance that is typically followed by congressional committees that decide appropriations. Obama hailed it as a step toward ending needless military spending that he called "an affront to the American people and to our troops."
Still, the president did not win every fiscal fight. He acknowledged he was putting his name to a bill that still had waste.
The measure expands current hate crimes law to include violence based on gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability. To assure its passage after years of frustrated efforts, Democratic supporters attached the measure to the must-pass defense policy bill over the stern objections of many Republicans.