Senate Panel Approves Freeze In Defense Spending

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- A Senate panel has approved a $513 billion defense bill for the next budget that freezes spending at the current level, a reflection of the demands for fiscal austerity, while reducing funds for operations in Afghanistan.

The panel slashed $26 billion from President Barack Obama's request for the military for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1. The Appropriations defense subcommittee agreed with the administration's request for an additional $118 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan on top of the base defense budget.

The panel approved the bill by voice vote. The full Appropriations Committee will consider the legislation on Thursday.

With the drawdown of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, the panel cut $5 billion for operations. The panel also trimmed $1.6 billion for training of Afghanistan Security Forces.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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