Republican shift sets up defense budget battle

Thursday - 11/4/2010, 2:40pm EDT

The Republican power shift in the House could set up a battle over the defense budget.

The ranking member on the Armed Services Committee, Rep. Howard (Buck) McKeon (R-CA), has begun campaigning to take the chairman's post now that his party has control of the House, the National Journal reports.

McKeon criticized the president's plans to slow historic growth in the Pentagon's budget and said Defense Secretary Robert Gates's plan to redirect savings in overhead expenses to higher-priority programs may not cover necessary costs and investments.

McKeon also said Republicans are committed to passing a 2011 defense authorization bill "not weighed down by the current majority's social agenda items," a reference to the repeal of the "Don't Ask Don't Tell" ban on openly gay individuals serving in the military.

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