Budget hawks lose as House rejects cuts to Pentagon spending

The House on Tuesday night defeated four amendments that would have trimmed several hundred millions of dollars from Defense Department spending for the remainder of fiscal year 2011.

The failure of the first amendment seemed to set the tone for the rest, as it would have cut just $19 million from various Defense Department advisory boards. Its sponsor, Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), said during the debate that Defense Secretary Robert Gates recommended this cut.

"If we can't do this, where can we do it?" Flake asked. Despite these arguments, the House narrowly rejected the Flake amendment in a 207-223 vote. More than half of Republicans and nearly half of the Democratic caucus voted against this cut.

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Other votes were not even close. The House rejected an amendment to cut $502 million from DoD's Innovative Research Fund in a 72-358 vote. Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) noted that DoD had not even requested this increased funding, but that was not enough to cut the funds.

The House also rejected an amendment from Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) that would have cut $415 million in spending related to the V-22 Osprey aircraft. The House rejected that proposed cut in a 105-326 vote.

And in a 109-320 vote, the House rejected another amendment from Pompeo to cut $115 million in research and development activities by the military.

After the four votes, the House continued its consideration of amendments. It is expected to continue working through the scores of amendments that still remain through the week. House Republicans are still targeting this week for finishing up all amendments, but it is unclear if that target can be met.