Military chiefs, lawmakers debate budget cuts

WASHINGTON (AP) — The nation’s military leaders are telling Congress that they have raided every other pot of money they have in order to cut spending, and lawmakers must now slow the growth of personnel pay and benefits.

In a rare combined appearance on Capitol Hill, the military chiefs say their forces worry more about not having the best training and equipment. They say skyrocketing personnel costs are forcing them to cut the number of troops they have, and erode their ability to maintain forces ready for combat.

Senators expressed reservations about slowing the increase in pay rates, and pressed the chiefs on other ways to trim spending. Several continued their opposition to the Pentagon’s efforts to cut the A-10 aircraft, which provides close air support for combat troops.