House budget hurdles

The full House is taking up HR 2862, the Science, State, Justice, and Commerce appropriations bill, which includes NASA’s budget. Debate on the bill started today and will continue into tomorrow. Earlier today Rep. David Obey (D-WI), the ranking Democrat on the full House Appropriations Committee, introduced an amendment that would have transferred $200 million from NASA’s exploration programs to efforts to aid local police. Obey’s argument, the AP reported, was that human missions to Mars were “decades away” while local police needed additional funding now. The AP characterized the amendment as “a Democratic challenge” to House Majority Leader Tom DeLay. The amendment failed on a voice vote and, later in the day, was rejected by a recorded vote of 196–230. The vote was largely along party lines, with all but 24 Democrats voting for it and all but 21 Republicans voting against it (excluding the 3 Republicans and 4 Democrats who did not vote.)

However, the bill faces another, very different, challenge tomorrow. Rep. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent who caucuses with the Democrats but considers himself more of a socialist, plans to introduce an amendment to the bill that would curtail some of the powers of the Patriot Act regarding access to library and booksellers’ records. (He introduced a similar amendment last year, which failed in a 210–210 tie.) What does this have to do with NASA? The Office of Management and Budget issued a statement saying that it would recommend that the President veto any appropriations bill that included such language, according to Reuters.

2 comments to House budget hurdles

  • Paul Torrance

    Is the right stuff era over?

  • While I’m no Socialist, right on Bernie Sanders. Today’s freedom of speach and the right to read whatever I damn well please without Big Brother knowing about it, versus the historical imperitives of the Space Exploration Initiative. Not an easy choice, and not one we should have to make.

    Here, I wish the Republicans would rediscover their anti-government rhetoric.

    — Donald