Leon Panetta Supports Raising Revenues

Defense secretary warns of the effects more cuts might have on the Pentagon

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Defense Secretary Leon Panetta held his first press briefing Thursday and made it an opportunity to weigh in the deficit plan cut by Congress earlier in the week, The New York Times reports. "Let me for a moment put a budget hat on," Panetta told reporters. He supported President Obama's insistence that new revenues must be carved out when the bipartisan committee meets in the fall to carve out another $1.5 trillion in cuts to the budget. Cutting any more funding from defense "would have dire consequences," he said.

"You cannot deal with the size deficits that this country is confronting by simply cutting the discretionary side of the budget... You’ve got to, as the president’s made clear, if you’re going to look at those size deficits, you’ve got to look at the mandatory side of the budget, which is two-thirds of the federal budget. And you also have to look at revenues as part of that answer.

One reporter asked if he would resign should across-the-board-cuts, called a "sequestration," kick in and cut defense spending even further. Panetta, with an eye like a tiger, responded, "I didn’t come into this job to quit, I came into this job to fight."

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