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Budget Deal Would Give Pentagon Extra Funds In Exchange For Social Program Cuts    :      Information Clearing House: ICH

Budget Deal Would Give Pentagon Extra Funds In Exchange For Social Program Cuts    :      Information Clearing House: ICH

April 05, 2011 "Huffington Post" -- WASHINGTON -- While media attention focuses on the cuts to government spending demanded by House Republicans and broadly accepted by Democrats, the Pentagon is poised to reap billions more in federal funds, according to sources close to the discussions. The confines of the budget negotiations established by the two parties results in a system where every extra dollar going to military spending ends up being offset by a dollar reduction in spending on domestic social programs.

Last week, Senate Democrats came to the table with $10 billion in proposed cuts to the military budget but, a House GOP aide said, the offer was immediately rejected. Democratic sources confirmed that the party had proposed defense spending reductions but disputed the amount.

Democrats and Republicans are now moving toward an agreement that would increase defense spending. But Democratic sources close to the talks said the Democrats' spending recommendation remains roughly $2 billion shy of that of their Republican counterparts. A spokesman for the Senate spending panel declined to comment, citing ongoing talks. A spokesman for Senate Democratic leadership did not respond to requests for comment.

During an Appropriations Committee meeting last weekend, the Obama administration and Senate Democrats proposed funding the Pentagon at $513 billion. That spending level is the same as Senate Democrats’ December proposal, but it also offers a $5 billion boost to the Pentagon's current budget.

Still, it's not enough to placate Republicans, who have demanded funding be set at $514 billion, even though, an administration official says, the Department of Defense has "signed off on" the $513 billion level.

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