Budget impasse could hit troops' paychecks

WASHINGTON (AP) - A Pentagon spokesman says the Defense Department has not decided yet whether U.S. troops at war will be paid if the government shuts down this weekend due to the budget impasse.

Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell says department leaders haven't figured out how pay would be affected, including the 146,000 service members in Iraq and Afghanistan. He says the Pentagon would continue key national security responsibilities including fighting the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, and continuing operations in Libya and earthquake assistance to Japan.

President Barack Obama says the administration and Congress are closer to an agreement on the budget than ever before. Officials are trying to hammer out an agreement that could cut billions from the estimated $1.2 trillion budget for 2011.

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