Some wiggle room for NASA in the ’07 budget?

The decision earlier this week by the incoming chairmen of the House and Senate appropriations committees to replace the pending FY2007 appropriations bills with a year-long continuing resolution was a setback for NASA, which was looking for a small but critical increase in its budget to support the ramp-up of the exploration program, among other activities—not to mention hopes that Congress would approve an extra billion dollars for the agency, as proposed by Sens. Hutchison and Mikulski. While that billion-dollar increase is out of the question, Space News reports this morning that a smaller positive adjustment in NASA’s budget might be possible. (subscription required) Depending on how the resolution is structured, it may be possible to wring out some additional funding for NASA: a spokesman for Sen. Robert Byrd, the incoming chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, told the Federal Times that there may be some flexibility in funding from agency to agency. The spokesman, Tom Gavin, said that the proposed continuing resolution will instead be called a “joint funding resolution” to make it clear that the guidelines for determining funding for the agencies included in the bill will not be identical to continuing resolutions, where (in the case of the current resolution) the funding is determined by the lowest amount among the House and Senate FY07 bills and the FY06 budget.

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