Congress: February 2011 Archives

Hearing Charter: An Overview of the Administration's Federal Research and Development Budget for Fiscal Year 2012 (NASA Excerpt)

"The FY12 budget request for NASA is $18.7 billion, the same amount requested in FY10. Congress fully funded the agency's request in the FY10 appropriations bill, a level which has continued to this day. For the four-year runout (FY13 - FY16), NASA's budget projection assumes identical funding for each year - $18.7 billion. However, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Blue Book and NASA's own budget request disagree on out-year funding levels; NASA's assumes four years of flat funding at $18.7 billion; OMB's out-year projections indicate budgets that are below the FY12 request."

Republicans Question President's Science Advisor

"While it is true that prudent investments in science and technology will almost certainly yield future economic gains and will allow our knowledge economy to grow, it is also true that these gains can be thwarted by poor decision-making," Chairman Hall said. "Americans expect and deserve better. With our unemployment hovering at over 9 percent, they expect us to reduce or eliminate those programs that are duplicative and wasteful and examine ways to advance real job creation and economic growth, not just spend their hard-earned money on what the government assumes is best for them."

Committee Democrats Contrast President's R&D Budget Request with Damaging House CR Cuts

"We can disagree over some of the specific choices in this budget proposal," said Congresswoman Johnson, "but I share with the president the same goal of maintaining a strong national science and technology enterprise and ensuring that all of our young people are prepared for the technical careers of the future."

Sustaining the Commitment: FY 2012 Request Keeps Budget Doubling on Track for NSF, DOE Science, and NIST Research, AIP

"National Nuclear Security Administration, Weapons Activities: + 19.5 percent
National Nuclear Security Administration, Total: +19.3 percent
National Institute of Standards and Technology: +16.9%
National Science Foundation: +13.0%
NASA, Science: +11.5%
Department of Energy Office of Science: +9.1 percent
National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering: +1.8 percent
U.S. Geological Survey: +0.6 percent
NASA: no change
Department of Defense Science and Technology Programs (6.1, 6.2, 6.3): -8.0 percent"

Keith's note: An amendment Offered to H.R. 1 "Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011" by Rep. Weiner (D-NY) Amendment No. 125. Passed on a vote of 226-204. [NASA Watch Annotations for clarity]

Page 203, line 23, after the dollar amount, insert "(increased by $298,000,00)".

[SEC. 1332. (a) Notwithstanding section 1101, the level for ''Department of Justice, Community Oriented Policing Services (Including Transfers of Funds)'' shall be $290,500,000.]

Page 204 line 8, after the first dollar amount Insert "(increased by $298,000 00)' .

[(Including Transfers of Funds)'' in division B of Public Law 111-117 shall be applied to funds appropriated by this division by substituting--
(1) ''$15,000,000'' for ''40,385,000'';
(2) ''$0'' for ''$25,385,000'';
(3) ''$1,500,000'' for ''$170,223,000'';
(4) ''$0'' for ''$168,723,000''; and
(5) ''$0'' for ''$298,000,000''.]

Page 206, line 10, after the dollar amount, insert ''(reduced by $298,000 000) '.

["(b) The proviso specifying amounts under the heading ''National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Space Operations'' in division B of Public Law 111-117 for operations, production, research, development, and support of the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station and for Space and Flight Support shall not apply to funds appropriated by this division. SEC. 1336. (a) Notwithstanding section 1101, the level for ''National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Cross Agency Support'' shall be $3,131,000,000."]

GAO: High-Risk Series - An Update February 2011 (NASA Excerpt)

"The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) plans to invest billions of dollars in the coming years to explore space, understand Earth's environment, and conduct aeronautics research. GAO has designated NASA's acquisition management as high risk in view of persistent cost growth and schedule slippage in the majority of its major projects. GAO's work has focused on identifying a number of causal factors, including antiquated financial management systems, poor cost major systems."

Obama proposes five-year freeze on NASA budget, AFP

"President Barack Obama on Monday proposed reining in expenses at NASA, sending his 2012 budget blueprint to Congress calling for a five-year freeze on new spending at the US space agency. The president would restrict NASA's budget to last year's levels, $18.7 billion annually through fiscal 2016. The figure represents a 1.6-percent decrease from the spending total the agency had sought for fiscal 2011, which ends in September. "This budget reflects the overall fiscal reality of the US government. There is not a lot of money available," said John Logsdon, a former director of the Space Policy Institute in Washington."

Budget 2012: NASA, Washington Post

"President Obama's proposed budget also makes explicit that the agency is focusing its longer-range planning on traveling to an asteroid, rather than to the moon. It adds funds as well to make use of the International Space Station more available to scientists and their institutions. The $100 billion space station, which has been formally designated as a national laboratory, would be funded through 2020 under the Obama budget. Earlier budgets during the Bush administration gave it funding only through 2015."

NASA budget picks fight with Congress, Orlando Sentinel

"President Barack Obama today released a $18.7-billion budget proposal for NASA that's almost certain to reignite last year's heated battle over the role that commercial companies should play in blasting astronauts into space. Obama's plan would spend $850 million in 2012 to help commercial companies, like SpaceX of California, meet a White House goal of using non-government spacecraft to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station by 2016. That's $350 million more than what Congress outlined in a heavily-debated NASA policy plan signed into law last year. And Obama would also cut nearly $1 billion from the new heavy-lift rocket that Congress ordered NASA to build by the end of 2016."

NASA FY 2012 Budget Summary (with chart)

"- Provides $18.7 billion, the same amount the agency received in 2010. Funding focuses on areas that will improve the Nation's space capabilities, strengthen our competitive edge, and prepare the next generation of leaders in the field. The Budget also proposes to streamline operations and boost efficiencies at facilities "

NASA Announces Plan To Win The Future With Fiscal Year 2012 Budget

"The NASA budget and supporting information will be available online at 1 p.m., Feb. 14, at: http://www.nasa.gov/budget"

Keith's 1:10 pm update: NASA PAO has changed their mind from what they said last week in this press release. The budget information will not be online at http://www.nasa.gov/budget until 1:30 pm ET according to a new release they just issued.

PAO also held an embargoed media briefing on the budget last week. They told me and several other reporters that we could only bring a "pencil and paper - no cellphones, laptops etc." I ended up not going. I found out later that other media who attended were allowed to bring in laptops, etc.

Also, the way they have today's briefing set up if you physically attend the event at NASA HQ you will have to miss one or more of the topic-oriented budget teleconferences (telecon only) briefings that start 30 minutes later (you can't physically attend them). So, unless your office is nearby - or you can find a quiet place with your cellphone - for 3 1/2 hours, you are going to miss things.

Keith's 3:45 pm update: Now I hear reporters participating from a NASA HQ location in the Space Operations telecon. Gee, no one at PAO told me that this was an option.

NASA Wants More For Commercial Crew, Technology, Aviation Week

"The Obama administration's $18.7 billion NASA budget request for fiscal 2012 continues the new policies started in last year's request, with a stronger push into commercial space travel to low Earth orbit (LEO) and modifications to accommodate the three-year NASA authorization enacted in December."

President Obama Freezes NASA's Budget at 2010 Levels, Space.com

"Although the new budget blueprint would roll back overall NASA spending, it does recommend boosts for some NASA sectors, including partnerships with commercial spaceflight companies. The 2012 request allocates $850 million for NASA to partner with American companies to provide astronaut transportation to and from the International Space Station."

Yet according to the Wall Street Journal:

NASA Budget Plan Restricts Spending On Private Rockets

"The Obama Administration's proposed 2012 National Aeronautics and Space Administration budget, expected to total more than $18.5 billion, is scaling back White House funding projections for private rockets and spacecraft intended to take astronauts into orbit, according to government and industry officials."

House Appropriations Committee Introduces CR Containing Largest Spending Cuts in History (With detailed chart)

"The House Appropriations Committee today introduced a Continuing Resolution (H.R. 1) to fund the federal government for the last seven months of the fiscal year while cutting spending by over $100 billion from the President's fiscal year 2011 request. This CR legislation represents the largest single discretionary spending reduction in the history of Congress. ...

"NASA Budget reduction compared to FY 2010 enacted: $303.0 million. Compared to FY 2011 Request: $578.7 million."

House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology Oversight Plan for the 112th Congress

"The Committee will continue to provide oversight of NASA's human spaceflight program as it undergoes a period of uncertainty and transition following various Administration proposals. Specific attention will be paid to the feasibility of NASA's plans and priorities relative to their resources and requirements."

House members may come see Discovery launch, Florida Today

"[Rep. Ralph] Hall, one of NASA's most vocal supporters in Congress, said the committee would have to work together to support the agency amid tight budgeting that will force cuts throughout the government. "My goal is to keep our position in space, keep our leadership in space and keep our national and international partners," Hall said. "I'm not urging anybody to go to Mars right now or back to the moon, or any place when people can't go to the grocery store. The economy has to be good. But we've got to continue to work toward it and plan for it."

NASA OIG Testimony: Major Challenges Facing NASA in 2011

"At the present time, NASA finds itself in a state of significant uncertainty, particularly with respect to its human space program. The final Space Shuttle flights are scheduled for later this fiscal year and construction of the International Space Station is essentially complete; however, the Agency has not achieved significant momentum on space exploration directives contained in 2010 authorizing legislation because of funding and technical questions.

The most immediate challenge facing NASA's leadership is to manage the Agency's portfolio of space and science missions amid the continuing lack of clarity caused by conflicting legislative directives in the Authorization Act and a holdover provision in NASA's fiscal year (FY) 2010 appropriations law. The latter provision prevents NASA from terminating any aspect of the Constellation Program or from initiating any new program."

It's oversight season: 'Hundreds' of hearings to tackle funding cuts, The Hill

"House appropriations oversight season starts in earnest this week as subcommittees hold the first of "hundreds" of oversight hearings to trim funding for federal agencies and programs. On Wednesday, two of the 12 appropriations subcommittees are set to review budget numbers with key officials from the Justice Department, Commerce Department, NASA and Securities and Exchange Commission."

House Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Hearing: Oversight of the National Science Foundation and NASA

A budgetary haircut ahead for NASA?, Orlando Sentinel

"Here's where the math gets tricky. The cuts announced by the appropriations committee call for a $379 million reduction to NASA's budget. A sizable sum if true. But it's another example of what happens when politicians start doing math. Here's why. The $379 million doesn't use the 2010 budget as a baseline. It uses President Barack Obama's proposed 2011 budget as a baseline, which was gave $19 billion to NASA. But that budget never passed."

CR Spending Cuts to Go Deep, House Committee on Appropriations

"House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers today announced a partial list of 70 spending cuts that will be included in an upcoming Continuing Resolution (CR) bill. The CR legislation will fund the federal government for the seven months remaining in the fiscal year and prevent a government wide shut-down, while significantly reducing the massive increases in discretionary spending enacted in the last several years by a Democrat majority. A full list of program cuts will be released when the bill is formally introduced."

Reid to Obama on NASA Budget

Letter From Sen. Harry Reid to President Obama Regarding the U.S. Space Program

"Based on this bipartisan vision, I strongly urge you to support the space program in your budget request for FY 2012. Any digression from the hard fought compromise would likely result in another year of turmoil for an already battered community. Thousands of highly skilled individuals have already lost their jobs, and additional job losses are expected as the agency transitions to the next generation space vehicle. Florida has been particularly hard hit with projected job losses over the next year and a half at more than 7000 - a state with an unemploynlent rate that already hovers near 12%. While many of these jobs are being lost with the Shuttle's retirement, we can reduce these job reductions by properly implementing the NASA Authorization Act."


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