Starting in 2013, the US government will begin cutting $500bn from the national defence budget, in a deal brokered between Republican and Democrat politicians.
The matter is a major political issue, and was the focus of a congressional hearing in Washington on Wednesday.
However, there is little talk about the other half of the planned cuts, those affecting low-income citizens.
Democrats argue the cuts to things like job training, meal programmes and housing are funds that the country's poorer people depend on. They say the cuts must be stopped or come from somewhere else.
Al Jazeera's Kimberly Halkett reports from Washington.