Congress: July 2007 Archives

Fixing NASA's Budget

Udall Urges Conrad to Question Nussle on NASA Funding

"As part of an ongoing effort by the House Committee on Science and Technology to highlight and address the dire funding situation at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics Chairman Mark Udall (D-CO) has enlisted the help of Senate Budget Chairman Kent Conrad (D-ND)."

"Because Congress has failed to demonstrate such a path, if H.R. 3093 were presented to the President, he would veto the bill. ...

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) - The Administration supports the House's full funding for NASA's Exploration Systems and Space Shuttle. However, the Administration does not endorse funding in excess of the request for Aeronautics, Education, and Science, where increases for near-term support would create unsustainable outyear funding requirements. The Administration also strongly objects to reductions to the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite Continuation Project that would reduce the future system availability of critical space communications capabilities for NASA and other partner agencies. The Administration further objects to the proposed establishment of several new appropriations accounts in FY 2008, that are not necessary and would adversely impact NASA's financial management system, processes, and controls."

IFPTE Letter Regarding Consideration of H.R. 3093

Editor's note: The White House is backing Griffin's push to burn every spare piece of firewood at NASA that he can find so as to keep one program going i.e. Ares 1 - and to do so at the expense of the remainder of NASA's chartered portfolio. And the sad hilarity of it all is that the White House now claims to be concerned about the future consequences of spending more on aeronautics, education, and science.They are apparently blind to the effects their decisions have already had on the agency's future i.e. they promised big bucks for VSE, then they did not deliver, then they drained money from elsewhere to pay VSE's mounting bills -- and now they balk when someone (Congress) tries to rectify the problem the White House has created.

House ISS Hearing

Opening Statement By Mark Udall: Hearing on NASA's Space Shuttle and International Space Station Programs: Status and Issues

"Another area of great concern is how the ISS will be supported logistically once the Shuttle is retired. It's not yet clear that NASA's budget for logistical support of the Station is sufficient for the task, or that all of the planned capabilities will be available when needed. I hope that today's hearing will shed some light on the situation. Yet all of the work being done to assemble the ISS and support it logistically is not meant to be an end in itself. Rather, it's the degree to which it is utilized productively that will determine the ultimate success or failure of the ISS. That is why a number of us have been so concerned about the severe cutbacks in NASA's Space Station research program and budget over the past several years. Those cuts have largely decimated the research community that had planned to use the ISS, with potentially serious implications for the productivity of the ISS as a research facility once it is assembled."

Opening Statement By Cristina T. Chaplain
Opening Statement By G. Paul Neitzel
Opening Statement By Tommy Holloway
Opening Statement By William Gerstenmaier
House Science and Technology Committee's Subcommittee Examines Challenges Facing Space Shuttle and International Space Station Programs
Subcommittee Reviews Plans for Space Station and Shuttle

NASA Mars Program Threatened by Senate Funding Bill, Planetary Society

"It appears that the entire sum will be taken out of the Mars exploration budget, including $20 million from funds supporting the Mars Exploration Rovers. This could force NASA to shut down the Mars rovers at the end of the current fiscal year!"

Editor's note: "It appears" and "could force"? Sorry Lou, that's not quite what I am hearing from NASA and elsewhere here in Washington. While the Senate did take $30 million out of Mars reserves, the House did not do this in their version of the bill and between subsequent conference action on this bill and inherent flexibility within NASA's Mars program, this is not expected to be present in the final Appropriations bill.

Besides, what kind of message would Congress be sending out by singling out a single, small item such as the rovers - just as Opportunity is poised to enter Victoria Crater - at the same time as they are going out of their way to tell people how they have substantially increased the money they feel NASA deserves?

The Planetary Society has been (rightfully and to their credit) complaining about space science cuts. So, guess what: Congress strongly reverses this trend - and yet the Planetary Society still seems to be missing the bigger picture.

Editor's note: Looks like Dave King's office has been busy. If you can't get funding for things at your center from your boss, you can always get your local Senator to toss some pork back your way. In this case its $9,350,000 worth of pork. Of course, it also helps Sen. Shelby's popularity back home to shovel tax dollars at the locals - even if the money goes to places that has nothing whatsoever to do with NASA's charter. Just come up with round numbers too. You don't need to bother and check and see what the actual financial needs are - they'll figure out how to spend the money. Total FY 2008 pork bill for Sen. Shelby: $16,350,000. Here's the list:

Budget Update

Senate Report 110-124: NASA Excerpts - Departments of Commerce and Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill, 2008

"The Committee recommendation provides $17,459,600,000 for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration [NASA]. The recommendation is $1,175,300,000 above the fiscal year 2007 enacted level, including emergency supplemental appropriations, and $150,200,000 above the budget request."

Senate Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Committee Clears Fiscal 2008 Funding Legislation

"National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA): The bill provides $17.46 billion for NASA, $1.2 billion above FY 2007 and $150 million above the Presidents budget request. The bill fully funds the Presidents budget request for Space Shuttle operations ($4 billion) and Space Station operations ($2.2 billion). The bill also provides: the full Presidents budget request of $3.9 billion for development of the next generation Crew Launch Vehicle (CLV, called Ares) and Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV, called Orion), $5.66 billion for science; and $554 million for aeronautics research."

Editor's note: The committee staff don't seem to know their agency names all that well - they refer to the "National Atmospheric and Space Administration (NASA)" in this release.



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