US House of Representatives approves $636 bn defence budget

US House of Representatives approves $636 bn defence budgetWashington, Dec 17 - The US House of Representatives late Wednesday approved a $636 billion defence budget for the fiscal year 2010 that has already begun, part of its last minute rush to finish business before Christmas.

The amount includes $128.3 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan -- $65 billion is earmarked for the fight against terrorists and the Taliban.

The White House is expected to ask for another $30 billion in the new year to cover the extra 30,000 soldiers being sent to Afghanistan.

The house voted 395 to 34 for the defence budget. The Senate must also agree to the sum, with a compromise between the two houses expected before Christmas.

In other action, the House approved a $290 billion increase to the debt ceiling, to $12.394 trillion, a sum causing growing worry in the capital and among economists.

The House also adopted a $154 billion economic-aid package.

The debt and defence measures are likely to reach President Barack Obama's desk by Christmas, but the jobs plan faces opposition in the Senate, where lawmakers are wary of its effect on the governments $1.4 trillion budget deficit.