Pentagon 'firmly behind' Obama cuts despite rejection by House

The Pentagon on Thursday said it stands “firmly” behind President Obama's 2015 defense budget request, much of which was rejected by the House Armed Services Committee.

The House panel completed a marathon session on Thursday morning that turned aside most of the president’s proposals, including the retirement of an aircraft carrier and the A-10 aircraft, the closing of excess bases, and cuts to troop pay raises and benefits. 

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Military chiefs have warned that, if those proposed cuts are not made, training and maintenance that would keep troops ready to fight would be affected. 

“We stand firmly behind the president's budget as submitted,” said Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren, who added that it was long-standing policy not to comment on legislation that's being drafted.

But there was little support for the cuts on the panel, which unanimously approved a bill devoid of the cuts in a 61-0 vote early Thursday morning. 

The full House will vote on the bill in two weeks. It would then have to be reconciled with a Senate version of the legislation.

Several members of the Senate Armed Services Committee have indicated they would also reject plans to retire the A-10 and transfer the National Guard's attack helicopters to the active duty Army. 

Military officials have said if those cuts are rejected, they might have to redraft their entire 2015 budget submissions. But on Thursday, the Pentagon declined to comment on whether that would happen.