The House Budget Committee yesterday voted to knock $1 billion off President Carter's request for 1979 defense spending, saying the Pentagon will not need the money because of delays in the Navy's Trident missile submarine program.
But the Budget Committee may be leaning against the wind in Congress by recommending $127.4 billion for the Pentagon. While both the administration and the House Armed Services Committee agree that the Trident program will need about $900 million less in fiscal 1979 (which starts next Oct. 1), the Armed Services Committee wants to add several billions of dollars more to Carter's request to enable the Navy to build a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier and a nuclear-powered cruiser.
Carter has said that the administration will not ask Congress for more shipbuilding funds this year. If the money is authorized, however, the Pentagon would spend it, and the Navy is lobbying for more shipbuilding money.
House Appropriations Committee Chairman George H. Mahon (D-Tex.) has said that he does not think he will be able to stop a House drive to spend more money on defense.
The Senate Budget Committee meanwhile, worked late into the night on a defense spending target proposed by Chairman Edmund S. Muskie (D-Maine) that would permit the Pentagon to start either a cruiser or an aircraft carrier. With some ceilings on pay raises, Muskie's proposed level of $128.3 billion might permit both the cruiser and the aircraft carrier to be built, committee aides said.
Pressures were building in the Senate committee to further boost spending authority to cover accelerated development of the MX mobile missile.