WASHINGTON — The White House indicated today that it might compromise with Senate Republicans on defense spending next fiscal year, but Senate GOP leader Robert Dole of Kansas denied reports that the two sides had settled on a 3% cap on Pentagon spending growth.
The Senate leaders and White House aides continued to meet today in search of agreement on a budget package.
The two sides started out far apart on military spending, with President Reagan seeking a 6% increase above inflation and the GOP-led Senate Budget Committee advocating nothing above the inflation rate for the Pentagon in fiscal 1986.
No Deal Yet
White House spokesman Larry Speakes said no deal had been struck with Senate leaders on limiting the growth in defense spending next year to a compromise figure of 3%. But he said a report that Reagan might accept 3% Pentagon budget growth in exchange for Senate approval of his proposed cutbacks in aid to farmers and other domestic programs "omits a few items that we're still talking to them about."
"Nothing is settled and won't be until we agree on an entire package," he said.
Dole also discounted the reported 3% compromise on military spending.
"We're talking about dollars (not percentages)," the Senate GOP leader told reporters. Asked if those dollars added up to a 3% hike, Dole replied, "No."