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Senate Approps Cuts $10 Billion off Defense Budget

The Senate Appropriations Committee today revealed its proposed $1 trillion dollar government funding package containing $667.7 billion in defense cash, some $10.3 billion below the Pentagon's FY-11 budget request.

One of the more controversial items funded by the package was the F136 alternate engine for the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter. The committee approved $450 million in R&D money to keep the F136 program humming despite the continued objections by the Pentagon and the threat of a Presidential veto of any legislation containing cash for the engine.

The proposal also funded the purchase of 35 F-35s, (seven for the Navy, 11 for the Marines and 17 for the Air Force) while "deferring seven from the requested level."

This comes a week after the House approved a $670.8 billion defense spending package. The House and Senate are scrambling to put together an omnibus spending package for FY-11 by the end of this week when the temporary spending measure currently funding the government ends.

Overall, the Senate appropriators gave the Pentagon $126.4 billion for personnel, $165.8 billion for operations and maintenance, $102.7 billion for procurement and $77.6 billion for R&D, $2.5 billion for revolving and management funds and $34.4 billion for other DoD efforts.

The remaining $157.7 billion is dedicated to funding the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The bill also gives the Pentagon "general transfer authority" to reshuffle up to $4 billion to meet its budget priorities in the face of the $10 billion in cuts.

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