Struggling with debt, Congress talks defense cuts

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- Republicans and Democrats alike are insisting the billions spent on the military can be significantly cut back over the next decade as the nation struggles to reduce its spiraling debt.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's plan to slash spending and increase the borrowing authority would cap spending by the Pentagon and other government agencies at $1.2 trillion. Conservative Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma has called for just over $1 trillion in defense cuts in his deficit-reduction plan, which he calls "Back in Black." A bipartisan group of six senators envisions reductions of more than $800 billion in 10 years.

The proposals reflect a political climate drastically altered by a dire economic outlook. In April, President Barack Obama instructed the Pentagon to find $400 billion in defense savings over 12 years.