"In the pre-dawn hours Saturday morning, a House-Senate conference committee reversed itself and agreed to fully fund $16.2 billion for NASA's FY05 budget. The conferees had been moving towards a $15.9 billion appropriations for the space agency. The final amount is exactly what President Bush had requested for NASA, and fully funds the space shuttle, space station resupply, and initial spending for the president's space exploration vision.
The action is a stunning victory for NASA chief Sean O'Keefe's legislative strategy, as detailed in my UPI stories throughout the summer. Furious last-minute maneuvering during the week, and the intercession of the Bush White House Office of Management and Budget as well as House Majority Leader Tom Delay (R-TX) helped push the budget talks over the top for NASA.
NASA sources tell me this morning that, as a result, it will be "full speed ahead" for the space plan, and the first RFP to build the new Constellation moonships will be released just after the Inauguration in late January."