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The Senate Armed Services Committee begins hearings today on the controversial nomination of Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense. If confirmed, one of the first things he will face at the Pentagon is a looming budget crisis on March 1. That is when across-the-board spending cuts would kick in, unless Congress and President Barack Obama agree on a plan to reduce the federal deficit before then. The effects of sequestration could be compounded later in March if Congress fails to pass a 2013 defense appropriation bill and extends the continuing resolution instead. Hagel says the cuts would be “devastating” to the Pentagon and harm military readiness. A panel joins Diane to discuss uncertainties over defense spending and how they could affect national security.
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