"Recommendation #2: Until the Congress has better information on which to judge the long-term cost of the President's Moon/Mars initiative, we believe that NASA's FY 2005 funding request should be reallocated in a manner that strengthens NASA's existing programs, helps address the backlog of deferred maintenance at NASA's facilities, ensures that the Shuttle will continue to fly safely for as long as it is needed, ensures that the International Space Station will be a safe and productive facility, makes a start on a replacement means of getting U.S. astronauts into space, and enables the analyses that will be needed to develop a viable and sustainable exploration agenda."
"The Committee will focus on the following overarching questions: Are the cost estimates and timetables of the initiative realistic? Is using the moon and the International Space Station as stepping-stones to a Mars mission the best approach? How difficult will it be to develop ways to minimize the impact on human health of long stays in space? Would NASA's budget have the proper balance among NASA's programs under the initiative?"
3 March 2004: Chairman's Mark, 2005 Budget, Senate Budget Committee (PDF)
"For NASA, $15.6 billion, a 1.4-percent increase over 2004. While the Mark supports the President's vision for exploration and discovery, the current budget situation necessitates slower implementation. The resolution assumes fully funding the President's request for NASA in 2006 and beyond."
6 March 2004: Congressional Preview
Editor's note: House and Senate Democrats are talking of putting the President's space Initiative on hold for at least a year. Some would like to wait for the election to be over. Other Democrats (and many Republicans) have problems with the lack of detail in the budget numbers and overall schedule milestones NASA has been presenting. Talk of holding NASA's budget in FY 2005 to FY 2004 levels with some $60-80 million in additional study money is being discussed among Democrats. Overall, Republicans are a bit more enthusiastic, but there are some deficit hawks who would like to pay off the deficit sooner than the President has suggested and proposed budget increases such as those sought for NASA are a tempting target.
8 March 2004: Bush's space plan stalls, Orlando Sentinel
"McCurdy thinks NASA had hoped a key legislator "would stand up and raise the flag and say 'Let's go! Follow me!' And that hasn't happened." In fact, one lawmaker who is well-positioned to lead such a charge, U.S. Rep. Sherwood Boehlert, chairman of the House Science Committee, says he needs more details about the initiative before he can decide whether to support it in its current form."
9 March 2004: Democratic Presidential Contender Kucinich Calls for Tripling NASA's Budget
"Kucinich, co-sponsor of the Space Exploration Act of 2003, said the current budget for NASA "is far from adequate. Our shuttle fleet is based on 30-year old technology and this is only because of a lack of funding. Although the shuttle program requires $4 billion a year to operate, NASA has been forced to operate the shuttle with a budget of only $3 billion a year."