Carter defended military bands as an "integral part of the patriotism that keeps our soldier's hearts beating fast."

Rep. Norm Dicks (D-Wash.) argued against Carter's language. "Section 8127 limits spending for military bands to $200 million for fiscal year 2012," he said. "Now, that's a lot of money."

The Appropriations Committee in June agreed to an amendment from Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.) that would limit spending on military bands to $200 million. On Wednesday, McCollum defended her proposal as a necessary step at a time when other serious cuts are being imposed.

"At a time when we are cutting back on WIC, which [supplements nutrition funds] to children, at a time when we're cutting back on education and healthcare expenses, I kind of felt I had a duty as an appropriator to look at opportunities in which we could cut back on spending," she said.