The barons of congressional appropriations committees, no friends of budget deals that tie their hands, are already at work trying to undermine last fall's budget pact. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.), chairman of the House defense appropriations subcommittee, led off a hearing on the Defense Dept.'s fiscal 1992 spending plan by warning that he'd find it hard to maintain a high state of military readiness while living within the agreed-to $283 billion Pentagon budget. A plan to reduce after-inflation military spending by 26% over six years was the cornerstone of the White House-Capitol Hill budget pact.
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