The House passed a Pentagon policy bill, via a 299-120 vote, under a veto threat from the White House last Friday after making last-minute changes on everything from foreign arm sales to cybersecurity.

The $554 billion defense authorization bill for fiscal year 2013 rejects multiple Pentagon proposals, including those to cancel the Global Hawk Block 30 drone, allow a temporary shutdown in production of M1 Abrams tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles, and cut one of two previously planned Virginia-class submarines in 2014. The measure, crafted in large part by the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) two weeks ago, is largely aligned on such big weapons changes in the FY ’13 defense appropriations bill the House Appropriations Committee passed last Thursday.

The White House on May 15 said President Barack Obama could veto the House-passed authorization bill, charging it adds too much funding and too many program changes to the Pentagon’s proposal. The $554 billion measure includes $8 billion more for the defense budget than is called for in the Budget Control Act of 2011 and roughly $4 billion more than is in Obama’s Pentagon proposal. The Pentagon policy legislation also includes $88.5 billion in war funding, which is what Obama sought.

The House adopted more than 100 amendments to the authorization legislation during debate that ran from last Wednesday to Friday. In the final stretch of deliberations it approved an amendment directing the Obama administration to sell Lockheed Martin’s [LMT] F-16 to Taiwan.

The F-16 measure, from Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas), added language to the bill stating: “The president shall carry out the sale of no fewer than 66 F–16C/D multirole fighter aircraft to Taiwan.”

The White House appears to be moving closer to allowing the F-16 sale to the nation seeking to counter China’s military. Robert Nabors, director of the White House’s Office of Legislative Affairs, told Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) in an April 26 letter the United States supports helping Taiwan buy “U.S.-made fighter aircraft” in the near future.

The House also approved two cybersecurity amendments on Friday. One from HASC member Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) calls for the president to create a charter for an interagency body that would coordinate and de-conflict “full-spectrum military cyber operations.” Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), chairman of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, also crafted a successful amend to clarify that legislative language regarding military activities in cyberspace does not authorize covert action.

The House passed industry-related amendments including one from Rep. John Tierney (D-Mass.) requiring a report on U.S. manufacturing and the defense industrial base’ supply chain from the defense secretary.

The House shot down amendments related to the bill’s topline figure, including one from Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) to reduce the authorization bill by $8 billion to jibe with the Budget Control Act.

During the first day of debate on amendments, last Thursday, the House approved a measure to transfer commercial satellites and components from the State Department’s U.S. Munitions List to the Commerce Department’s more-flexible Commerce Control List to make it easier for U.S. firms to sell some non-sensitive items to partner nations. Members also shot down proposals to slash funding for varied weapons efforts: the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, V-22 Osprey, next-generation bomber, and homeland missile defense (Defense Daily, May 18).

The Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) is set to craft its version of the FY ’13 defense authorization bill this week. It will do most of its subcommittee and full-committee markups behind closed doors, and its leaders are expected to brief reporters on the final bill on Thursday or Friday. That Senate legislation, which eventually will have to be reconciled with the House-passed bill, is set to have a smaller topline figure in line with Obama’s proposal.