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Congress will allow the military to continue sponsoring sports

The House rejected a plan to trim military funding used to sponsor sports like NASCAR, in order to attract recruits.

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Republican Rep. Sue Myrick dismissed the amendment as micromanaging the military's recruiting. Democratic Rep. Larry Kissell said the relationship between the military and NASCAR was critical.

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Rep. Steven Palazzo, R-Miss., said there was "no reason Congress should be telling the Department of Defense where and how to spend money." In fact, Congress repeatedly instructs the Pentagon on how to spend the money it appropriates.

The effort by Kingston and McCollum suffered an early blow when a separate provision of the bill barring funds for sponsoring professional and semiprofessional motorsports and other sports was ruled out of order by the presiding officer in the House.

The Obama administration has threatened a veto of the overall defense bill after lawmakers abandoned the budget levels they agreed to last year and added $3 billion to preserve some programs and add money to others. Specifically, the bill blocks the Pentagon's plans to retire or transfer various aircraft, including C-27Js, C-23s and a version of the Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle.

By voice vote, the House approved an amendment that would cut half the U.S. aid to Pakistan, reducing the amount to $650 million.

Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, called Pakistan the "Benedict Arnold" of nations and complained about the level of Islamabad's cooperation in the fight against terrorism. Members of Congress are particularly angry with Pakistan's conviction of Shakil Afridi, the doctor who helped the United States track down Osama bin Laden but was sentenced to 33 years for high treason.

"Pakistan doesn't deserve American money," Poe said.

Various sports leagues weighed in this week on the military sponsorships, sending a letter to Republican and Democratic leaders urging them to oppose the amendment.

"Sports marketing has long been an important element in the U.S. Armed Forces' efforts to reach young adults and active duty personnel regarding the military's missions and objectives that serve our country," said the letter to House Republican and Democratic leaders from NASCAR, IZOD IndyCar series, Major League Baseball, the National Football League and the National Basketball Association.

"The benefits from these types of sponsorships offset the minimal costs to taxpayers," the letter said.

In recent days, the Army ended its sponsorship with Stewart-Haas Racing, with the service saying the money was not a great investment.

Associated Press writer Jenna Fryer in Charlotte, N.C., contributed to this report

IN PICTURES: Women in the Military

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