U.S. Senate defense funding bill rejects some Pentagon cost-cutting

By David Alexander WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. senators gave initial approval on Tuesday to a bill that would provide $549.3 billion in defense spending next year but reject many Pentagon cost-cutting plans, such as retiring a fleet of planes and delaying modernization of a nuclear aircraft carrier. The defense subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee approved legislation that would provide the Pentagon with a $489.6 billion base budget in the 2015 fiscal year beginning in October, plus $59.7 billion for conflicts abroad. The bill, which will be considered by the full committee on Thursday, must be approved by the full Senate and reconciled with a similar bill in the U.S. House of Representatives before going to President Barack Obama to be signed into law. The version passed by the subcommittee includes $848.7 million for modernization of the aircraft carrier George Washington, $338 million to maintain the fleet of A-10 Warthog close air support aircraft and $1.3 billion to purchase 12 EA-18G Growler electronic attack aircraft.

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