WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Caspar W. Weinberger, appearing before a skeptical House Budget Committee, heatedly argued with lawmakers today over the Administration's defense budget and suggested that one congressman's "nice little free speech" was not exactly true.
Weinberger, testifying to the Democratic-led panel two days after the Senate Budget Committee rebuked President Reagan's planned increase in military spending, presented a long list of items--including aircraft, missiles, tanks and ships--he said would have to be canceled under a spending freeze.
"What you would be doing is crippling the continuation of the rearmament program," Weinberger said.
However, several members of the committee were not anywhere near being receptive to Weinberger's arguments.
'Country's Got a Problem'
"Mr. Secretary, this country's got a problem--neither our missiles nor our secretary of defense shoots straight," said Rep. Pat Williams (D-Mont.), contending that Weinberger had in the past issued gloomy predictions that had not come true.
Rep. Martin Frost (D-Tex.) said, "I believe you will find a bipartisan majority on this committee just as you found a bipartisan majority on the Senate committee" voting for a freeze.