In new round of budget talks, Defense spending not safe

Monday - 1/24/2011, 3:43pm EST

Lawmakers are showing a greater appetite for cutting federal programs - even defense spending - as they ramp up for the next round of budget talks.

Many new members of Congress ran on platforms that stressed cutting government spending, and that could include defense spending, MSNBC reports. And many of them argue that the $78 billion in defense budget cuts proposed by Secretary Robert Gates is not enough. The new majority leader in the House, Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) has repeatedly said that defense programs will be considered for cuts alongside other programs.

So in the House at least everything is apparently on the cutting board as the U.S. wrestles with a $1.3 trillion deficit.

Cutting defense programs is something a majority in both chambers have resisted in the past. For example, in their Pledge to America campaign last fall, Republican leaders in the House specifically did not include any cuts in defense, homeland security or veterans' programs.

The defense cuts and savings proposed by Secretary Gates would amount to $13 billion less than the Pentagon wanted to spend in the coming year. But it still stands as 3 percent growth after inflation.

This story is part of Federal News Radio's daily DoD Report. For more defense news, click here.