By Emelie Rutherford

The House is expected to vote tonight on the last-minute federal budget Democrats and Republicans agreed to late last week, a massive plan unveiled early yesterday morning that cuts the Pentagon’s budget request down to $513 billion.

The final omnibus appropriations bill for all federal agencies would slash President Barack Obama’s fiscal year 2011 requests for efforts including the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, missile defense, Army vehicles, and the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization (JIEDDO)

The agreement falls short of giving the Pentagon the $540 billion Defense Secretary Robert Gates said in February was needed for the remainder of FY ’11, which ends Sept. 30.

The $513 billion defense plan represents an $18.1 billion cut from Obama’s FY ’11 request, according to the Senate Appropriations Committee (SAC). Yet the $513 billion in FY ’11 funding is still an approximately $5 billion increase for defense spending over FY ’10 levels, a situation that has irked congressional advocates of higher Pentagon cuts. The new budget agreement also contains $157.8 billion in war funding, which is what Obama requested, lifting the total Pentagon base budget and war funding allocation to $670.8 billion, down from Obama’s requested $688.9 billion.

White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer highlighted the defense cuts last Saturday, after House Republicans and Senate Democrats reached the budget accord the previous night, just moments before federal funding was slated to expire and a government shutdown loomed.

“We…looked to the Defense Department for savings, and were able to identify $18 billion in cuts deemed unnecessary by the Pentagon,” Pfeiffer wrote on the White House’s blog. “These types of cuts are what the American people expect out of their leaders in Washington.”

The Senate and House appropriations committees unveiled the legislation early yesterday morning, setting up a House vote tonight; the House Rules Committee met after press time last night to set the parameters for debate. The Senate is expected to vote on the bill before midnight Friday. The federal government is running on a one-week temporary funding measure the House and Senate approved last Friday night.

The final $513 billion defense figure in the new bill is close to the $513.6 billion the Democratic-controlled SAC proposed last month, yet more than $2 billion less than the $515.8 billion the Republican-led House approved last week. Overall, the final FY ’11 budget plan cuts $38.5 billion in spending across the government, compared to FY ’10 levels, and $78.5 billion from Obama’s FY ’11 budget proposal.

The newly unveiled FY ’11 defense plan contains $102.1 billion in defense procurement and $75 billion in research and development.

It eliminates all defense earmarks, a cut of $4.2 billion from FY ’10 levels, while including a total of 759 reductions to programs in Obama’s FY ’11 proposal.

“These cuts are made as a result of program terminations or delays, changes to policies or programs since submission of the budget in February 2010, inadequate justification, or corrections to poor fiscal discipline in the Department of Defense,” the SAC said in a summary released yesterday morning.

Those reductions include:

– a $2.16 billion cut to Lockheed Martin‘s [LMT] overall F-35 program, “due to production and testing delays;”

– a $672 million reduction to the JIEDDO;

– a $272 million dip in Theater High Altitude Area Defense monies, because of a contract-award delay;

– a $473 million cut for Army manned-ground-vehicle funding, attributed to a “pricetag adjustment;”

– a $457 million reduction for the non-line-of-sight cannon, which the Army terminated;

– $2 billion in recessions from prior-year funding for more than 50 programs, “primarily due to under-execution, terminations, and schedule delays;” and

– $9 billion in cuts to operations and maintenance accounts, according to the SAC.

The FY ’11 plan, notably, does not fund the F-35 alternate engine, developed by General Electric [GE] and Rolls-Royce. Supporters including SAC Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) have talked of trying to restore funding for the second engine in the FY ’12 budget.

The new bill also contains $145 million for the Marine Corps’ ill-fated Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle. The service, according to report language accompanying the legislation, could use the money to either proceed with plans to cancel General Dynamics‘ [GD] Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle or continuing ongoing system development and demonstration work.

The House also is slated to vote late this week on a high-profile FY ’12 budget resolution from House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). The plan, which also sets federal funding for FY ’13 through FY ’21, does not call for the military budget reductions some policy makers believe are unavoidable.

Obama plans to present his own vision for reducing the federal deficit, partly by targeting the defense budget, in a speech mid-day today.

It remains to be seen how well any call to cut the defense budget, during a time of multiple overseas conflicts, will be received on Capitol Hill.

Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) told reporters at the Capitol yesterday he thinks “there should be some reductions in some parts of the defense budget.”

He said that specific cuts should not be “decided in the abstract.” But rather, he said, he believes defense reductions should be “generally on the table” in deficit-reducing talks. Still, Levin said he has “emerging views” of his own on aspects of the Pentagon’s budget that could be trimmed in the future.

SASC Ranking Member John McCain (R-Ariz.), though, told reporters he is hesitant to back Pentagon budget cuts beyond the $178 billion in reductions over the next five years that Gates proposed in February.

“I’m all for the savings that Secretary Gates said that we would enact, and I think they’re an excellent place to start,” McCain said. “We’re in two wars. We have a crisis in Libya, and before I just say I’m ready to cut defense I’ve got to be convinced that’s the way that is….I’d have to be shown a need for them, not just a blanket statement that we’re going to cut defense. That’s crazy and stupid.”