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News In Brief

Legislative panel OKs ceiling on defense with $2 billion cut

A House and Senate conference committee reached tentative agreement Tuesday on a 1985 defense-spending ceiling of $297 billion, $2 billion less than President Reagan had proposed and the Senate had approved.

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The compromise, some $4 billion higher than the ceiling passed in the House version of the bill, was proposed by Sen. John Tower (R) of Texas. An aide to the senator said that only the total figure was resolved, but it was a ''major step'' toward reaching a compromise.