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Opinion: Republicans in Congress facing defense dilemma

Published 02/16/2011, Syndicated columnist

WASHINGTON — Tall, affable Buck McKeon sits, gavel in hand, at the intersection of two conflicting Republican tendencies. The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee embodies the party’s support for a “strong” defense, which is sometimes measured simply by the size of the Pentagon’s budget. But the 35 Republicans on his 62-member committee include 13 first-term legislators, some of whom embody the tea party’s zeal for cutting government spending.

Word count: 740

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