House panel approves defense bill

A House panel has approved a defense bill that would delay President Barack Obama's new policy allowing gays to serve openly in the military. It also would limit the commander in chief's authority on slashing the nation's nuclear arsenal.

By a vote of 60-1, the House Armed Services Committee early Thursday morning approved the broad, $553 billion defense blueprint that would provide a 1.6 percent increase in military pay, fund an array of aircraft, ships and submarines, and meet the Pentagon's request for an additional $118 billion to fight wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Republican-controlled panel challenged the Democratic president on scores of issues, from building an extra fighter jet engine to his decision-making on the fate of terrorist suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.