Congress: April 2008 Archives

Texans in Congress try to boost NASA budget, Houston Chronicle

"In the Senate, Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, a member of the powerful Appropriations Committee, said she was asking colleagues to add at least $1 billion to the NASA budget. Hutchison said she wants to add one more shuttle flight in order to ferry the $1.5 billion Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer to the international space station to study the energy-producing possibilities of cosmic rays. "We're not giving NASA the priority it should have," said Hutchison, a member of the Senate Republican leadership. "It should remain the premier agency for innovation and research."

IFPTE Letter To House Appropriators Regarding Bipartisan Letter Requesting Additional Funding for NASA

"In addition to the immediate, beneficial stimulatory impacts of increasing NASA's budget, the critically needed supplemental funding will revitalize long-term investments in our Nation's future. Unless Congress takes significant steps today to ensure NASA's success across all of its vital missions by providing appropriate funding for its broad array of responsibilities, we may very well relinquish America's future leadership in civil and military aviation, Earth and Space Science, and Aerospace technology, leaving our children to look eastward as the European Union and China move quickly to capitalize on our complacency."

Letter from House Members to House Leadership Regarding $2 Billion Additional NASA Funding Request

"We write to urge you to include $2 billion in funding for NASA in either a second economic stimulus package or the supplemental appropriations bill. Investing these much-needed resources in NASA will reimburse the agency for funds spent on return - to - flight expenses following the Columbia disaster and for repairs needed following Hurricanes Rita and Katrina. In addition, these funds will help close the gap between the Shuttle and Constellation programs to minimize our dependence on Russia. We believe these funds will provide an immediate and long-term economic stimulus for our nation's economy as well through additional investments in science and aeronautics R&D."

Editor's note: Looking at who signed this letter, one reader asks: "Where's the Florida House delegation?" It would seem that Sen. Nelson has a little more arm twisting to do.

Editor's note: Word has it that a $400 million earmark for a climate research center is being prepared on behalf of Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM) who is retiring. Think of this as legacy pork.

This climate change research center would not run be run by NASA or NOAA or EPA. Nor will there be any competitive bidding. Instead it would be run through the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) which runs Los Alamos National Laboratory located in Domenici's home state of New Mexico.

With all the arm waving and complaints about NASA not doing enough on the issue of climate change you'd think that this effort would go to NASA or if not NASA, then to NOAA. That is, if climate change research was really the prime overarching intent of this proposed allocation.

One mechanism whereby this pork might begin to work its way into the funding que is via the Supplemental Intelligence Authorization Bill which is due for mark-up this week. If this does not work then other approaches are under consideration. Scott O'Malia, a minority staffer on the Senate Appropriations Committee is reportedly taking the lead on pushing this legacy pork through.

Sen. Domenici serves as Ranking Member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) is chairman of that committee. Domenici is also Ranking Member of the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee. Talk about a one-two punch.

Apparently other members of the Senate and key House appropriators only learned of this activity in the past few days.

The National Nuclear Security Administration and the Supplemental Intelligence Authorization Bill are such logical places to put climate change funding, right?

Happy EarthPork Day.

Prepared Statement By Richard Gilbrech
Prepared Statement By Kathryn Thornton
Prepared Statement By Cristina Chaplain
Prepared Statement By Noel Hinners
Opening Statement By Chairman Mark Udall

"Thus, at a minimum, NASA needs to follow good program management practices and do its best to control costs, something the GAO witness will discuss. NASA also needs to do a better job of keeping Congress informed of its progress on critical initiatives, so we can determine if they are proceeding in the right way and on budget. In addition, it means that we need to make sure that NASA's Exploration program is structured in a way that ensures that the critical long-term exploration research and technology investments will be made."

Hearing Charter: NASA's Exploration Initiative: Status and Issues

Live Webcast

"On Thursday, April 3, 2008 at 10:00 a.m., the House Committee on Science and Technology's Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics will hold a hearing to review the status of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Exploration initiative and examine issues related to its implementation.

  • Is NASA's strategy in designing the Orion CEV to first service the ISS and then upgrading it to enable lunar missions the most cost-effective approach? That is, is the upgrade approach, rather than designing a crewed vehicle capable of both missions at the onset, the most cost- effective approach?
  • What would be the effect on the March 2015 Initial Operating Capability (IOC) date for Orion and Ares I if NASA is funded at the FY 08 level required by a Continuing Resolution in FY09? Would this reduced level for Constellation Systems exacerbate the "gap" and if so, by how much?
  • Is it technically and programmatically possible to accelerate the Orion CEV's Initial Operating Capability (IOC) to a date earlier than March 2015 and still maintain a confidence level of 65%?
  • Will the March 2015 CEV IOC date slip if projected Shuttle retirement transition costs starting in FY2011 exceed NASA's goal of less than $500 million?
  • How close is NASA to resolving the Ares I thrust oscillation issue and will this issue have any impact on milestones leading up to the March 2015 IOC date?"

National Aeronautics and Space Administration: Overview, FY2009 Budget, and Issues for Congress, Congressional Research Service 26 Feb 2008 via OpenCRS

"NASA stresses that its strategy is to "go as we can afford to pay," with the pace of the program set, in part, by the available funding. In 2004, the President proposed adding a total of $1 billion to NASA's budget for FY2005 through FY2009 to help pay for the Vision, but subsequent Administration budgets more than eliminated this proposed increase, and actual appropriations by Congress have been even less. Most funding for the Vision is thus being redirected from other NASA activities. To free up funding for Orion and Ares I, the space shuttle program will be terminated in 2010, and U.S. use of the ISS will end by 2017. NASA has not provided a cost estimate for the Vision as a whole. Its 2005 implementation plan estimates that returning astronauts to the Moon will cost $104 billion, not including the cost of robotic precursor missions, and that using Orion to service the ISS will cost an additional $20 billion. A report by the Government Accountability Office gives a total cost for the Vision of $230 billion over two decades."


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This page is an archive of entries in the Congress category from April 2008.

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