Survey: US public wants bigger defense cuts than lawmakers

WASHINGTON, - Lawmakers arguing over a proposed $5 billion cut in the US defense budget might want to take a look at how much the American public would trim if given a chance - an average of $127 billion, according to a survey released on Thursday.
The survey, which explained the issues and let respondents decide budget levels, found that Americans would slash spending on nuclear weapons by an average of 27 percent, cancel the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the Pentagon's biggest weapons program, and scrap plans for a new aircraft carrier and long-range bomber.
Overall, respondents on average thought $435 billion was an appropriate level for the 2013 defense budget - about $127 billion less than 2012 levels - according to the survey, which was conducted by the Program for Public Consultation, a project involving the University of Maryland.
The survey was released hours after the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee passed a defense policy bill that would authorize spending of $554 billion for national defense in the 2013 fiscal year and $88.5 billion for the US wars abroad.
The measure, which sets defense policy but does not actually appropriate funds, would add nearly $4 billion to the Pentagon's own spending request for 2013.
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