WASHINGTON — The Senate last night overwhelmingly approved a $631 billion defense bill that would prohibit the Air Force from eliminating six KC-135 refueling tankers at Rickenbacker Air National Guard Base.

The bill, which cleared the Senate by a 98-0 vote, must be reconciled with a version approved this year by the House. The bill includes

$91 million to keep alive suppliers of parts for the M1A2 Abrams tank, which is produced at the Lima tank plant.

Ohio Sens. Sherrod Brown, a Democrat, and Rob Portman, a Republican, pushed for a measure in the bill that overturns President Barack Obama’s call to eliminate the air tankers from Rickenbacker. Brown and Portman argued that removing the tankers would kill hundreds of National Guard positions in Columbus.

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