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Lawmakers argued the ships are needed as the Pacific Rim continues to grow in strategic importance.  But Navy officials said security wouldn’t be compromised by retiring the ships.

The Pentagon has been trying to find ways to trim roughly $46 billion from its budget this year due to mandatory cuts brought about by sequestration.  The deal was designed to make across-the-board cuts to all government agencies in the event Congress failed to pass a deficit reduction compromise.  It was intended as a last resort, but took effect anyway in March.

Members of Congress are often fighting the Pentagon’s plans in order to save jobs in their home districts.  But often the military is making cuts in an attempt to save jobs as well and avoid furloughs - unpaid leaves of absence - for Defense Department personnel.

The Air Force has also been butting heads with Congress, as it wants to retire several C-130 and C-5A cargo aircraft, B-1 bombers and unmanned aerial vehicles.  Air Force officials estimated they could save $600 million by retiring the aircraft.