Budget: June 2010 Archives

House spending panel punts on NASA policy, Orlando Sentinel

"A key congressional committee today sidestepped a potential vote on NASA's future, opting to take "no position" on White House plans to scrap NASA's moon rocket program and replace the space shuttle with commercial rockets. The House subcommittee with oversight of NASA's budget did, however, agree unanimously to withhold funding for the agency's human exploration program until Congress authorizes a plan for the agency -- a move that normally could cause headaches for the administration. But because Congress is unlikely to move this spending bill -- or any 2011 spending bill -- until after election season, the prohibition essentially is rendered moot. With that procedure aside, much of the rest of the two-hour hearing turned into a debate about NASA should do after the shuttle era."

Aderholt's bill tells NASA to stop Constellation cuts, Huntsville Times

"Aderholt's bill, titled the Protecting Human Spaceflight Act of 2010, would require NASA to stop downsizing or canceling Constellation projects. It was introduced in the House shortly after 5 p.m. CDT Monday. The legislation would also require the space agency to spend 90 percent of the remaining funds appropriated for Constellation this year."

Subcommittee Markup: Commerce, Justice, Science Subcommittee - FY2011 Bill

The Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science will meet today at 3:30 ET to start the markup of its FY11 appropriations bill. This will be an opportunity to see any changes in dollar amounts and conditions for NASA's budget.

At Companies Tied to NASA, Casualties of a Changing Mission, NY Times

"The administration wants to turn to commercial companies for taking future astronauts to orbit while taking a hiatus from any ambitious missions to send astronauts beyond low-Earth orbit. Yet Congress has not agreed to the scuttling of Constellation and added a clause in this year's federal budget that prohibited NASA from canceling the program or starting a new one without Congressional assent. The skirmishing continued in earnest this week. Staff members on the House Committee on Science and Technology are reviewing documents that NASA sent over Friday evening to comply with the committee's demand for information used in formulating the president's proposal. In addition, on Tuesday, 62 House members signed a letter sent to President Obama "to express concern" over the direction of NASA."

ATK gets reprieve in NASA funding, AP

"ATK Space Systems says it has been cleared for a scheduled ground test of a new rocket motor in September. ATK says it received notice from NASA that the company will receive $160 million to prepare for the rocket test despite doubts about the future of the space program. The situation could change after October, when a new federal budget year starts."

ATK: NASA releases funds: Ares rocket work may continue through at least September, McClatchy-Tribune

"NASA in the last month threatened to withhold funding and enforce a contract clause that could force ATK to put up $500 million in termination costs for Ares, which is part of the Constellation space project. ATK officials would not confirm it, but NASA projected the termination clause would cost more than 2,000 jobs at the Top of Utah company."

Does moon plan have a pulse?, Houston Chronicle

"And the full 60-member House Appropriations Committee will be deciding whether to adopt Senate-passed restrictions designed to block an administration effort to have Constellation contractors set aside funds to pay potential contract termination costs - a move that critics contend bleeds the program before Congress has taken action. The language is part of the must-pass wartime defense supplemental bill. The panels' deliberations follow a letter to Obama by 62 House Democrats and Republicans from 18 states on Wednesday that urged the president to work with lawmakers on a compromise on the Constellation program."

Letter From House Science & Technology Committee to Charles Bolden Regarding FY 2011 Budget Information

"The failure of NASA to supply Congress with this information hampers our ability to address the future of NASA's human spaceflight program in a timely manner. Simultaneously, the agency is implementing dramatic changes to the Constellation program which are resulting in the loss of thousands of skilled jobs and which will cause unavoidable delays in the development of Ares-I and Orion, should Congress decide not to terminate those programs. Since NASA has failed to provide the Committee with any detailed supporting materials with which Congress can judge the proposed human spaceflight plan, Congress must insist upon the production of all materials NASA relied upon in formulating its proposal ... Please provide these materials and information to Room 2321 of the Rayburn House Office Building no later than close of business on Friday June 25, 2010. "

Keith's note: Word has it that the White House views this request as a matter of Executive privilege. As such it is unlikely that NASA will be allowed to provide much of what the House members are demanding to see. This is an old trick. Congress asks for every piece of data that they can think of knowing full well that the White House will say no. Then they have a new issue to thump their chests about: the White House's refusal to be open and transparent with Congress and to provide the requested information. Stay tuned. This is just going to drag on all summer.

Meeting held by Jacobs Engineering could mean big changes for company, WAFF

"Sources say people inside this meeting were given the option to take a voluntary layoff and receive one thousand dollars as well as pay until July 9th. They say workers were also told they can apply for part time work, or stay and see what happens. Jacobs was contacted to get more information. We're still waiting to hear what they have to say about Tuesday's meeting and what's next for their company's future in Huntsville."

No way to run the space program, opinion, Huntsville Times

"Some contractor employees working on the Constellation program have already been told to expect layoff notices and buyout offers, and others will probably join them this week and next. Up to 1,000 or so jobs are at stake at 21 local contractors employing 1,750 people on the Constellation program."

Governor Riley sounds off on space jobs in Alabama, WAFF

"This is going to be an administrative decision, but it has a huge impact on us here. We do have BRAC that's bringing in six or seven thousand jobs. We've got a couple of other announcements I hope to be making in the next several months," said Governor Riley."

Keith's note: Included in this video is an interview with Mike Griffin wherein he puts his spin on NASA budget issues as leader of the "Constellation Nation".

Text of a Letter from the President To The Speaker of the House of Representatives

"In addition, this transmittal contains FY 2011 amendments for the Legislative Branch. As a matter of comity between branches, these appropriations requests of the Legislative Branch are transmitted without change. Moreover, provided for your consideration is a FY 2011 Budget amendment for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). This request would fund an initiative to develop a plan to spur regional economic growth and job creation along the Florida Space Coast and other affected regions in furtherance of my Administration's bold new course for human space flight, which revitalizes NASA and transitions to new opportunities in the space industry and beyond."

NASA Layoff Update

No NASA employees will lose jobs in Constellation cuts, space agency confirms, Huntsville Times

"NASA Headquarters in Washington confirmed today that no government employees here will lose their jobs in current cuts being made in the Constellation rocket program."

Space Policy Fight May Have No Winners, Aviation Week

"Bolden says "most of these reductions will be implemented via reductions in workforce" in the weeks ahead, "beginning immediately" and totaling an estimated "30-60% of the current population, or 2,500-5,000, for the balance of the year."

Job fairs, workshop planned for space shuttle workers, Florida Today

"Two upcoming job fairs and a workshop aim to assist aerospace professionals whose jobs could end with the shuttle program, and those already out of work."

Constellation may not recover from NASA's rare move last week, Huntsville Times

"Details were still sketchy Monday on exactly how many Constellation contractor employees could be laid off here, although Boeing has already announced 100 cuts. Attempts to reach managers of other key contractors were unsuccessful."

Nelson maps a road forward on space without Constellation, Orlando Sentinel

"Although Nelson mentions Ares I and Orion's contracts and assets - the first-phase rocket and crew capsule, respectively, of Constellation -- he does not talk about the program at all. Gone too is any mention of a vigorous test flight program for which Nelson recently requested $726 million. Nelson's spokesman, Dan McLaughlin, said that upon reflection lawmakers decided that it was up to "NASA as to how to get started on HLV as soon as possible." Nelson's approach appears to be an attempt at compromise with critics of the president's plans who have attacked the proposals as a "road to nowhere" that cedes U.S. leadership in space."

Letter From Sen. Nelson to Sen. Mikulski Regarding FY 2011 NASA Budget

"Thank you for your letter of February 16, 2010, outlining your principles for drafting the fiscal year 2011 funding bill for NASA. I share fully your sentiment that our committees must work together to define the best path forward for America's space program. Over the last four months, I have been studying the President's budget request, as well as various alternative proposals, in determining how we can best move ahead to the next era of human space flight. I write today to share with you some of the key elements that have emerged from that review, including discussions with Chairman Rockefeller, Ranking Member Hutchison, Senator Vitter, and other members of our Committee, which will form the bipartisan foundation of a NASA authorization bill."

Bill Would Direct NASA to Begin Work on Heavy-lift Rocket Next Year, Space News

"In a statement issued by her office June 14, Mikulski said the elements of the authorization bill outlined in Nelson's letter offer "an alternative framework for NASA's human space flight program that could snap us out of the 'stagnant quo.'" "I look forward to seeing the details and how this alternative meets the principles outlined in my February 16, 2010 letter: astronaut safety, mission destination, balanced space program, scientific utilization of human space flight, workforce transition, and taxpayer protection," she said."

NASA order may force shutdown of Constellation moon-rocket program, Orlando Sentinel

"In a surprise move, NASA has told the major contractors working on its troubled Constellation moon rocket program that they are in violation of federal spending rules -- and must immediately cut back work by nearly $1 billion to get into compliance. As many as 5,000 jobs from Utah to Florida are expected to be lost over the next month. The effect of the directive, which went out to contractors earlier this week and which Congress was told about on Wednesday, may accomplish something that President Barack Obama has sought since February: killing Constellation's system of rockets, capsules and lunar landers that has already cost at least $9 billion to date. .. At issue is the federal Anti-Deficiency Act that requires all federal contractors to set aside a portion of their payments to cover costs in case the project is ever cancelled."

Bolden: Funding Shortfall Requires Slowdown on Constellation, Space News

"In a June 9 letter to key U.S. lawmakers, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said the work slowdown could result in "contractor workforce reductions estimated at 30-60 percent of the current population, or 2,500-5,000, for the balance of the year."

OMB Memorandum: Identifying Low-Priority Agency Programs

"Your agency is required to identify the programs and subprograms that have the lowest impact on your agency's mission and constitute at least five percent of your agency's discretionary budget. This information should be included with your FY 2012 budget submission, but is a separate exercise from the budget reductions necessary to meet the target for your agency's FY 2012 discretionary budget request."



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This page is an archive of entries in the Budget category from June 2010.

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