Congress: November 2011 Archives

Statement by AIA President & CEO Marion C. Blakey on Today's Supercommittee Announcement

"The announcement this afternoon that the supercommittee cannot reach agreement to avoid sequestration is of grave concern. At stake are $1.2 trillion in across-the-board budget cuts hitting the Defense Department, NASA, FAA and other federal programs. The Defense Department will need to start applying cuts to the fiscal year 2013 budget immediately and job losses will increase as the Pentagon is forced to halt work. AIA will continue to make sure that the impacts to our nation, economy and industry are well understood by all Americans."

Super committee fails to agree on deficit-reduction plan, LA Times

"The committee faced a Wednesday deadline to vote on a proposal to slash the nation's deficits by $1.5 trillion over the decade. The panel that was brought into existence as a result of the summer debt ceiling fight spent three months in mostly secret negotiations. A deal needed to be posted by Monday evening to provide a 48-hour review. The failure of the committee now triggers mandatory spending cuts that slice equally across defense and discretionary accounts, to begin in January 2013."

OMB directs agencies to cut 2013 budgets, Government Executive

"The Obama administration is directing federal agencies to submit fiscal 2013 budget requests that are at least 10 percent below their current appropriation level."

OMB Memorandum for the Heads of Departments and Agencies: Fiscal Year 2013 Budget Guidance

"In light of the tight limits on discretionary spending starting in 2012, your 2013 budget submission to OMB should provide options to support the President's commitment to cut waste and reorder priorities to achieve deficit reduction while investing in those areas critical to job creation and economic growth. Unless your agency has been given explicit direction otherwise by OMB, your overall agency request for 2013 should be at least 5 percent below your 2011 enacted discretionary appropriation. As discussed at the recent Cabinet meetings, your 2013 budget submission should also identify additional discretionary funding reductions that would bring your request to a level that is at least 10 percent below your 2011 enacted discretionary appropriation."

NASA budget erratic, Florida Today

"The good news for Kennedy Space Center and Brevard is in the form of a major investment in a new super rocket and Orion crew spaceship, publicly run rather than privately developed, but destined to be prepared and launched from here. Funding for both projects is solidly in place and will help stabilize jobs at the spaceport now and create potentially thousands more in the coming half-decade. ..."

"... The boondoggle James Webb Space Telescope was kept alive -- and provided a multibillion-dollar taxpayer bailout -- as politicians gave up on empty threats to finally cancel the latest NASA project to blow its budget and schedule. The telescope, an important science mission worthy of completion, is devouring so much of the NASA budget that other good work is being delayed or canceled."

Florida: No Space Pork Here - Only In Virginia, earlier post

- Sen. Rockefeller (statement)

Witness Panel 1
- Charles Bolden(statement)

Witness Panel 2
- KSC Center Director Robert D. Cabana
- JSC Center Director Michael L. Coats
- MSFC Center Director Robert M. Lightfoot

Conference Report to Accompany HR 2112 -- NASA Excerpts

"... the formulation and development costs (with development cost as defined under 51 U.S.C. 30104) for the James Webb Space Telescope shall not exceed $8,000,000,000: Provided further, That should the individual identified under subparagraph (c)(2)(E) of section 30104 of title 51 as responsible for the James Webb Space Telescope determine that the development cost of the program is likely to exceed that limitation, the individual shall immediately notify the Administrator and the increase shall be treated as if it meets the 30 percent threshold described in subsection (f) of section 30104 of title 51."

"... $406,000,000 shall be for commercial spaceflight activities, and $304,800,000 shall be for exploration research and development: Provided further, That not to exceed $316,500,000 of funds provided for the heavy lift launch vehicle system may be used for ground operations: Provided further that $100,000,000 of the funds provided for commercial spaceflight activities shall only be available after the NASA Administrator certifies to the Committees on Appropriations, in writing, that NASA has published the required notifications of NASA contract actions implementing the acquisition strategy for the heavy lift launch vehicle system identified in section 302 of Public Law 111-267 and has begun to execute relevant contract actions in support of development of the heavy lift launch vehicle system."

Exploring Mars and Beyond: What's Next for U.S. Planetary Science?

"- Dr. Jim Green, Planetary Science Division Director, Science Mission Directorate, National Aeronautics and Space Administration

- Dr. Steve Squyres, Chair, Committee on the Planetary Science Decadal Survey, National Academies of Science"

- Statement of Rep. Donna Edwards
- Statement of James Green
- Statement of Steven Squyres

Keith's note: Conferees filed their conference report for the first minibus appropriations bill Monday night. This is what they propose for NASA:

- NASA (whole agency): $17.8 billion
- ISS: $2.8 billion for ops, research, and cargo
- Commercial Crew: $406 million
- SLS: $1.8 billion
- MPCV/Orion: $1.2 billion
- Webb Space Telescope: $529 million
- Technology: $575 million

Budget pressures squeeze the dreams of Mars explorers, Washington Post

"At a White House meeting during the last week of October, administration officials "were clearly not very keen on signing up" for unmanned Mars missions in 2016 and 2018, said Daniel Britt, who attended the meeting as head of the planetary science division of the American Astronomical Society. ... White House officials said no decision to kill the Mars program has been made. The administration is deliberating how to mete out NASA's uncertain budget, said Rick Weiss, a spokesman for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy."

NASA Funding Added to Must-pass Minibus, Space News

"NASA funding is among the differences House and Senate conferees must resolve before the two chambers can give final approval to the so-called minibus the week of Nov. 14. House appropriators voted this summer to fund NASA at $16.8 billion -- about $1.6 billion below this year's level -- and recommended canceling the overbudget James Webb Space Telescope. The Senate bill, in contrast, would fund NASA at $17.9 billion and include additional money for Webb."

NASA Still Studying Space-Based Fuel Depots, Aviation Week

"Michael Gazarik, NASA's space technology program director, says that CPST and the Space Launch System (SLS) heavy-lift rocket currently under development are complementary technologies. "To explore deep space we need a heavy-lift vehicle -- SLS -- and we need this technology. We need to be able to demonstrate how to handle cryogenic fluids in space." The CPST project is being led by NASA's Office of the Chief Technologist, which was set up by the Obama administration to develop technologies that will be needed regardless of the final exploration architectures the U.S. space community hammers out. The depot-demonstration mission will serve any of them, Gazarik says."

- Update on NASA's Hidden Fuel Depot Studies
- NASA Studies Show Cheaper Alternatives to SLS, earlier post
- Fuel Depots and Congress, earlier post
- In-Space Cryogenic Propellant Storage and Transfer Demonstration Mission Concept Studies, 2011, NASA GRC, earlier post
- Using Commercial Launchers and Fuel Depots Instead of HLVs, earlier post
- The HLV Cost Information NASA Decided Not To Give To Congress, earlier post

Propellant Depots Instead of Heavy Lift?, opinion, By Michael D. Griffin and Scott Pace, Space News

"The most reasonable claim made in support of fuel depots is that if they are employed to the exclusion of a heavy lifter, one saves the cost of building the heavy lifter. This is certainly true -- but then we do not have a heavy lifter!"

Keith's note: Hilarious. Griffin and Pace cannot see through their own tired, myopic, Apollo on Steroids rhetoric. If you save the cost of building a heavy lifter then you SAVE MONEY. Get it? you SAVE MONEY. You can can use that money that you were going to spend on monster rockets to buy EXISTING ROCKETS to create the fuel depot and other aspects of a cislunar infrastructure. You then utilize that same existing commercial launch capability to accomplish what you only thought possible with the heavy lift behemoths you seem so chronically addicted to. The only reason NASA is building SLS right now is because Congress i.e. the space states misses your Ares V and all the jobs it created/saved. They do not seem to care if there is no money provided for payloads to fly on these rockets. This is certainly not about efficiency.

Keith's note: As you can see from this screen shot from the hearing's webcast (shown only on NASA TV) as John Holdren and Charlie Bolden were testifying, that virtually no one other than Rep. Rohrabacher, ranking member Rep. Carnahan, and their staffs even bothered to show up for this hearing. A few selected tweets:

- Rohrabacher: DOJ says that WH can do whatever it wants in terms of diplomacy. My colleagues and I will fight this overreach.
- Rep. Carnahan: I have a different view on how we can engage with China and push ahead with reforms.
- Rep. Wolf "NASA wants to work with the PLA who is killing people for their organs"
- Rep. Wolf is now showing posters and shouting.
- It is now clear why Rep. Wolf needed his own panel - he is taking up the time that 3 witnesses would normally take
- Rep. Wolf is showing more posters and shouting about China blocking UN missions
- Bolden: my predecessor travelled to China to talk about space cooperation while GW Bush was president. I travelled there in 2010.
- Rohrabacher: this came to you from DOJ? Holdren: DOJ's opinion represents the Administration's opinion on this matter & it is binding on me
- Holdren: WH asked DOJ lawyer to be present - that request not granted by the committee - Rohrabacher said he would have granted had he known
- Most absurd aspect of the China/OSTP/NASA hearing: Committee staff refused to allow a DOJ rep to explain its decision for WH to follow

Hearing: Efforts to Transfer America's Leading Edge Science to China

- Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (subcommittee chair) - statement
- Rep. Carnahan (ranking minority member) - No prepared statement

Panel I
- Rep. Frank Wolf - statement/press release

Panel II (new)
- Thomas Armstrong, Managing Associate General Counsel, GAO - statement
- John Holdren, OSTP Director - statement
- Charles Bolden, NASA Administrator - statement

Panel III (new)
- Rick Fisher, Senior Fellow, International Assessment and Strategy Center - statement
- Adam Segal, Ph. D., Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations - statement

Office of Science and Technology Policy--Bilateral Activities with China, October 11, 2011

"Section 1340 prohibits OSTP from engaging in bilateral activities with the government of the People's Republic of China or Chinese-owned companies unless specifically authorized. Because OSTP was prohibited from using appropriated funds to participate in the Innovation Dialogue and the S&ED, OSTP violated the Antideficiency Act."

Wolf Asks Justice Department to Hold White House Science Adviser Accountable for Breaking Law

"Rep. Frank Wolf, chairman of the House Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations subcommittee, today asked the Justice Department to hold the head of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) accountable for breaking the law for leading science policy discussions with China."


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