Defense bill nears passage in Congress

By DONNA CASSATA | December 15, 2011 | 3:12 AM EST

WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress is poised to approve a massive $662 billion defense bill and send it to President Barack Obama for his signature.

The House voted 283-136 for the measure Wednesday night, a rare bipartisan vote in a deeply divided Congress. The Senate is expected to vote Thursday.

The House vote came just hours after the administration abandoned a veto threat over provisions dealing with the handling of terrorism suspects. Last-minute changes by House and Senate negotiators in divisive provisions on handling of terrorism suspects placated the White House.

In a statement, press secretary Jay Carney said the revised bill doesn't challenge the president's authority to incapacitate terrorists and protect the American people.

The overall bills would authorize money for military personnel, weapons systems and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.