WASHINGTON (AP) — Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is defending his department’s slimmed-down, $614 billion budget plan, telling senators it’s time they show they are serious about reducing the deficit.
Panetta says budget cuts will hit all 50 states, and he says the reductions were carefully planned so there is little room for change. His warning came in testimony prepared for Tuesday’s Senate Armed Services Committee hearing and was obtained by The Associated Press.
Panetta and Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, can expect to meet resistance from lawmakers who have expressed reservations about gutting defense and eroding national security. The proposed 2013 defense budget includes $525.4 billion in base spending and $88.5 billion for the Afghanistan and Iraq wars — $32 billion less than this year’s budget.