(Reuters) - The health and defense industries are readying for battle as a bipartisan committee determines how to trim $1.5 trillion from the federal budget over the next 10 years.
Senate and House members already appointed to the committee have ties to both industries, which have a long history of influence on Capitol Hill.
The defense industry spent more than $210 million to lobby Congress over roughly the past 18 months.
According to a database maintained by the Center for Responsive Politics, a total of 843 lobbyists represented 279 defense industry clients in 2011 so far.
Lockheed Martin, Boeing, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon are some of the top spenders on Capitol Hill.
Despite the U.S. Department of Defense consuming a large chunk of the federal budget, the defense industry’s contributions to members of Congress are low compared to other industries like pharmaceuticals.
Historically, Republicans benefit most from the defense industry. And looking toward the 2012 elections, the industry contributed 62 percent of its funds to Republicans so far.
The health industry is one of the biggest spenders on Capitol Hill, and employs an army of lobbyists. In fact, lobbyists representing drug manufacturers, health care providers and insurance companies outnumber members of Congress 5-to-1, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Over roughly the past 18 months the health industry has spent more than $765 million on Capitol Hill. The pharmaceutical and health product sector contributed more than half of that amount.
Pfizer Inc, Amgen Inc, Abbott Laboratories and Merck & Co. are some of the top contributors along with associations, such as the American Dental Association and the American Hospital Association.
Republicans received more contributions from the health industry during the 2012 election cycle so far -- about $6.5 million. Democrats are lagging by $2.1 million.
All data were obtained through the Center for Responsive Politics and are current through August 10. The Center for Responsive Politics data comes from the Senate Office of Public Records and the Federal Election Commission.
Reporting by Andrew Seaman and Jim Wolf; Editing by Cynthia Osterman