JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill is claiming victory in passage of a defense bill that she says is free of earmarks.

The Democrat from Missouri had complained that a version previously considered by a House committee included 115 spending earmarks for projects. But McCaskill says the final version sent Thursday to President Barack Obama contains no earmarks — thanks to an amendment she sponsored.

Republican Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri also is praising passage of the bill. Blunt says it begins to authorize the development of a new long-range strike bomber, which Blunt hopes will result in jobs in Missouri, which currently hosts the only B-2 bomber base.

Blunt says the bill also contains an amendment he sponsored ensuring National Guard soldiers activated for domestic emergencies receive the same employment rights as soldiers returning from overseas duty.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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