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Republican rejects Panetta's US defense budget criticism

WASHINGTON - A top Republican lawmaker on US defense issues on Friday rejected Pentagon chief Leon Panetta's criticism of budget maneuvering in Congress, underscoring the difficulty of finding a compromise on security spending at a time of sharp political polarization.
Representative Buck McKeon, chairman of the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee, told Panetta in a letter that he was "clearly operating under some misconceptions" about a defense policy bill passed this week that authorized $554 billion in defense spending for the 2013 fiscal year.McKeon said the House panel added nearly $4 billion in additional funding to the Pentagon's budget request because Panetta told them spending cuts ordered by Congress had taken the Defense Department "right to the razor's edge."
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