WASHINGTON -- A strong request by Defense Secretary Harold Brown to cut back on the 1981 defense budget of $157.5 bilion was ignored by a Senate subcommittee, which subsequently added another $2.5 billion to the total.
This week, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense approved a budget of $161 billion -- $6 billion more than what the administration originally proposed and $3.5 billion more than what the House approved last September.
The action came despite letters sent Nov. 8 to Sen. John Stennis, D-Miss., chairman of the subcommittee, urging reversal of the House-approved increases and quick passage of administration proposal.
In two letters to Stennis and accompanying documentation made available Friday, Brown complained of what the House had done to the administration-proposed budget.
The House had added $7.5 billion in new programs and deleted $5 billion in administration programs for a net increase of $2.5 billion.
The changes, Brown said, would have a 'serious and debilitating impact' on the Defense Department's 'ability to carry out its defense mission in fiscal 1981 and future years and assume final congressional action during this session.'
Brown said if congressional action on the fiscal 1981 bill is not completed this year, it probably would take until next spring to approve a new budget 'before which time it will collide with the fiscal 1982 budget.'
'I believe that final congressional action on the Defense Bill is imperative in the next four or five weeks,' he said.