THE CONGRESS: Perilous Penny-Pinching

As balky as a small boy whose neck is about to be scrubbed, the House began debate last week on the Defense Department's $51 billion appropriation request for the next fiscal year. Like most taxpayers, House members were already rubbed raw by the prospect of another big budget deficit. And they were sure that hundreds of millions could be cut from the Pentagon's figures—in addition to the $4.2 billion already chopped out by the Appropriations Committee—but nobody knew where.

Touch of the Brush. Georgia's Carl Vinson did what he could to defend the bill against indiscriminate cutting. "I am certain," he...

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