Appropriations chair eyes defense cuts

Democrats will look at defense spending for possible spending cuts, the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee said on Monday .

Rep. David Obey (D-Wis.) said Democrats will meet Obama's requested spending levels but will not exempt defense and security spending from the three-year spending freeze the president has requested.

Obama wants the cap to apply only to domestic spending on social programs.

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"We will not exceed [Obama's] requested level for appropriations, but we will also not exempt any department or activity from review, including foreign aid and the Pentagon, because none of them are without waste," Obey said.


Liberal lawmakers have reacted coolly to Obama's proposed cap, arguing it will harm both the economy and those who rely on social spending.

Obey's statement is the clearest sign so far that Democrats will not toe the line on Obama's spending proposals.

It also sets up a showdown with Democratic chairmen of key defense committees.

Both Rep. Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) and Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), the chairmen of the House and Senate Armed Services committees, respectively, have said they oppose any freeze in defense spending.