WASHINGTON – A Senate panel Thursday rejected the Pentagon’s proposed cuts in personnel and equipment for the Air National Guard as it completed a far-reaching, $631 billion defense budget for next year.

Republicans and Democrats on the Armed Services Committee unanimously backed the budget, which called for the same amount of money President Obama had proposed for the military earlier this year. The total is $4 billion less than the House-passed bill, and House-Senate negotiators will have to work out the difference.

The committee followed Obama’s lead on overall spending, but broke with the administration and the Pentagon on several policies. The panel rejected a call for another round of domestic military base closings and rebuffed the Pentagon’s plan to raise enrollment fees for the military’s health care program.

The Pentagon envisions reductions in the size of the force as it emerges from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The cuts also reflect last year’s budget agreement that calls for a $487 billion reduction in projected defense spending over 10 years, a number that could double if Congress and the Obama administration fail to agree on a way to avert automatic spending cuts in January 2013.

In its budget proposal, the Pentagon called for a cut of 5,100 from the Air National Guard, 3,900 from active duty and 900 reservists as well as 134 aircraft. The nation’s governors pushed back hard against the cuts, and so did members of Congress.

The committee also voted to establish a national commission to make recommendations to Congress on the size of the Air Force.

The commission would have to report to Congress by March 31, 2013.