WASHINGTON - Congress must consider cutting spending for defense and entitlement programs "down the road" if it intends to balance the federal budget, a Senate Budget Committee official said yesterday.

Bill Hoagland, staff director for the Senate Budget Committee, told a panel at the National Conference of State Legislatures annual federal conference here that Congress can make progress in cutting the deficit even if entitlement and defense spending is kept "off the table" for the next two years.

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