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Minnesota lawmakers attach provisions to defense policy bill

WASHINGTON — Rep. Betty McCollum’s amendment to stop National Guard sponsorship of NASCAR failed. 

WASHINGTON — Minnesotans had mixed success amending an annual defense policy bill passed by the U.S. House on Friday. 

A proposal from Rep. John Kline preventing the Pentagon from dropping certain veterans from its TRICARE Prime plan was attached to the bill. Under current policy, more than 170,000 veterans are set to move to a more standard version of the health care plan in October.

The bill includes an amendment from Rep. Tim Walz calling for a government study into the number of service members discharged for personality or attitude disorders. Walz tried — unsuccessfully — to force a vote on a review of 31,000 such discharges and correct errors in the system.

The bill also included three provisions from Rep. Michele Bachmann — two to train or better fund diplomatic security teams and one requiring that certain federal buildings fly a POW/MIA flag on a daily basis. 

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But Rep. Betty McCollum’s amendment to bar the National Guard from sponsoring motorsports and pro wrestling teams and events failed 134-290. It was her latest attempt to stop such sponsorships.

The House also defeated an amendment from Rick Nolan looking to cut $60 billion from the defense budget. That figure corresponds to the amount spent fraudulently during the wars in the Middle East, according to the Commission on Wartime Contracting, Nolan said. The amendment failed 71-353. 

The $638 billion bill includes a host of defense policy changes, including those meant to crack down on sexual assault in the military. The Hill has a good overview of the rest of the bill here

Devin Henry can be reached at