One of the banes of the budget process, not just for NASA but other agencies, is the inclusion by some members of Congress of earmarks to aid little-known programs and organizations in their home districts. On NBC’s Meet the Press this morning Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) weighed in against earmarks, using NASA as an example:
We’ve got to exercise not only overall budgetary control, but stop these earmarks. We’re harming agencies like NASA and their ability to carry out their mission because we’re diverting so much of the funds to other projects that are unnecessary and wasteful.
The conference report for the omnibus budget bill includes several pages of such earmarks in the NASA budget.