Shifting NASA Budget Skirmishes

Editor's note: Yesterday, after the Obey amendment to gut NASA exploration efforts (so as to restore funding for law enforcement) played out on the floor of the house, I noted: "So much for everyone's hopes that moving NASA from VA HUD to a new subcommittee would stop the NASA Vs veterans arguments. Now its NASA Vs. police." Jim Muncy has some thoughts on the topic:

"Dear Keith:

Please post this comment as from me, not from any of my clients, since I am definitely NOT speaking for them.

The whole point of reorganizing the Appropriations Subcommittees was to try to group more-alike agencies, such as the science-heavy Department of Commerce (NIST, NOAA, Weather Service, trade offices that relate to technology and aerospace industries) plus NASA and NSF into one subcommittee. Of course, unless you also brought DOD R&D and Agriculture and NIH research all into one subcommittee, you couldn't create a "pure" science and technology subcommittee, but at least Majority Leader DeLay and others tried to get NASA and NSF away from the fiscal black holes of veterans health care and public housing.

The beneficial result of Mr. DeLay's efforts was clear long-before Chairman Wolf's and Ranking Member Mollohan's bill got to the floor: an excellent overall budget allocation for the subcommittee, and a committee mark that actually increased NASA's funding above the President's request, unlike the song-and-dance we had last year with a >$1 billion cut in the opening round of appropriations that only got solved at the very end by heavy lifting from White House as well as Mr. DeLay, Sen. Stevens, and others.

In offering his amendment yesterday, Mr. Obey made it clear that he was taking a fairly partisan position against not just DeLay but against the Vision for Space Exploration. Sadly, that approach probably got him more votes than he would have otherwise. But it still failed. What neither of us know for sure is how many amendments never got offered because of the new subcommittee structure. We only know how many bad allocations and dangerous amendments NASA has had to fight in the past.

Clearly a better allocation up front, which could be enacted as a freestanding appropriations bill actually produced by a full and open conference committee, is better than depending on last minute, behind-the-scenes heroics as part of a take-it-or-else omnibus.

Jim Muncy"

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on June 15, 2005 9:57 AM.

The Sky Is No Longer The Limit was the previous entry in this blog.

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