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Pentagon Budget Possible Pawn in Deficit Negotiations

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  • November 6, 2011
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With talks among members of the congressional debt supercommittee seemingly stalled over whether they can rely on tax increases to help reduce the deficit, a possible compromise could include additional cuts to DOD’s budget.

The most recent proposal offered by the panel’s Democrats — calling for slashing $3 trillion from the deficit — incorporates $200 billion in defense savings over the next 10 years, reported CQ Today. A memo from the office of House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) mentioned the proposed defense cut, but noted that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta believes reductions beyond the $450 billion already called for are not achievable.

Moreover, some senior Democrats oppose extracting further savings from the Pentagon’s budget just as vociferously as many Republicans, according to CQ. Rep. Norm Dicks (D-Wash.), ranking member of the Appropriations Committee, and Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), chairman of the Armed Services Committee, have said they do not support additional cuts to defense spending.

While the outline of a deal has not yet emerged, the reluctance of Republicans to include measures that would raise revenue likely could force lawmakers to accept a package that includes a cut akin to the Democrats’ $200 billion offer.

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