House GOP leader willing to look for Defense cuts

Days after President Obama exempted national security from a three-year domestic discretionary spending freeze, House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, Monday said he would support a scrub of the Pentagon's budget to eliminate any unnecessary spending.

"I don't think any agency of the federal government should be exempt from routing out wasteful spending or unnecessary spending and, frankly, I would agree with it at the Pentagon," Boehner said on NBC's "Meet the Press." "There's got to be wasteful spending there, unnecessary spending there. It all ought to be eliminated."

Boehner did not directly call for including the Pentagon budget in the spending freeze, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., did last week.

Boehner did, however, call for going through the federal budget -- including defense spending -- "line by line and asking the question, 'Is this spending worth having to borrow only that our kids and grandkids have to pay back?'"

On the talk shows, congressional Republicans largely criticized Obama's proposed spending freeze for doing little to reduce a deficit that the Congressional Budget Office put at $6 trillion over 10 years. The proposal, which also exempts the Homeland Security and Veterans Affairs departments, would save $250 billion over 10 years.

House Budget Committee ranking member Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said on "Fox News Sunday" that the administration is still "pumping through billions upon trillions of new spending" this year before the freeze takes effect in fiscal 2011. He said the White House is promoting the "rhetoric of fiscal discipline but [a] policy of the opposite."

On Fox, Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., defended the freeze proposal, saying it is a "good step in the right direction."

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