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US Faces hard budget choices. Where's the fat?

The budget-writing season on Capitol Hill does not officially open until Feb. 4, when the Reagan administration drops its fiscal 1986 budget on Congress's doorstep. But legislators have already come up with 65 different plans for freezing federal spending. One reason for the frenzied activity: Red ink in the 1986 budget is expected to hit $230 billion before spending cuts.

The search for more cuts is complicated by the fact that all the easily agreed upon targets have already been reached. In the remaining programs, what one legislator considers fat, another views as a flag-draped necessity.

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Today, The Monitor begins a nine-part series that examines major areas of the federal budget and highlights programs that could be trimmed or eliminated to shrink the deficit. Please see Page 3 -- 30 --{et

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