Pentagon to urge Clinton to reject base-closing list

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DEFENSE Secretary William Perry intends to urge President Clinton to challenge an independent commission's proposal for dismantling an Air Force maintenance depot in California.

The Pentagon compromise is aimed at defusing a politically charged debate over the economic impact in California of the proposed closing of Sacramento's McClellan Air Force Base. McClellan is the largest of six military bases in California that the Base Closure and Realignment Commission tagged for shut down.

Under the Perry compromise, roughly half of the jobs at McClellan could be preserved by allowing the Air Force to contract depot work with local private companies, defense officials say.

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The White House does not want to be accused of interfering with the base-closing commission's work, since the panel was created to keep politics out of the process.

Clinton has until July 15 to accept the commission's list of recommendations or return the list for revisions.

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