Pentagon chief calls for new multi-year defense spending deal

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter answers reporters' question during a joint news conference with his South Korean counterpart Han Min Koo at the Defense Ministry in SeoulBy David Alexander and Phil Stewart WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Calling Republican defense spending plans a “road to nowhere,” Defense Secretary Ash Carter appealed on Wednesday for lawmakers to work with him toward a new bipartisan budget deal to provide stable funding for a U.S. military hurt by years of steep cuts. Carter told a Senate appropriations panel that Republican efforts to try to meet President Barack Obama’s defense funding request were well-intentioned but would not give the Pentagon the flexibility it needed and ultimately would lock in budget cuts Obama has threatened to veto. The president proposed a $534 billion Pentagon base budget for the 2016 fiscal year beginning Oct. 1 that exceeds federal spending caps by $35 billion and could trigger mandatory cuts. The Republican-controlled Congress, which opposes many of Obama’s spending priorities, is considering a $499 billion Pentagon base budget that would not exceed spending caps.

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