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Senator Says Nuclear Arsenal Spending is "Ripe For Cuts"

Federal spending on the U.S. nuclear arsenal is "ripe for cuts," the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee said on Tuesday (see GSN, June 7).

Speaking at the National Press Club, Senator Carl Levin (D-Mich.) said "defense has to contribute" to efforts to stave off sweeping budget reductions that would amount to $55 billion annually in federal spending, which are called for under the 2011 Budget Control Act, the Washington Post reported.

The budget cuts will be activated at the beginning of 2013 unless congressional negotiators are able to develop a plan for reducing the federal deficit by $1.2 trillion over the next decade or are able to agree on modifying the Budget Control Act before 2012 is over.

The Pentagon could offer $10 billion in annual funding reductions over 10 years to avoid more drastic drops later, according to the lawmaker.

Levin said substantial budget savings could be found by slashing funds dedicated to updating and servicing the U.S. nuclear arsenal. Roughly $200 billion is intended for updating the nation's nuclear arms infrastructure and its force of ballistic missile submarines, long-range nuclear bombers, and silo-based ICBMs, the Post reported (Walter Pincus, Washington Post, June 12).

Pentagon officials did not offer a response in short order to Levin's comments, United Press International reported on Wednesday (United Press International, June 13).

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