Yesterday the House Science and Technology Committee held a hearing on the proposed overall FY2008 R&D budget, with OSTP director John Marburger as the sole witness. Neither the official committee press release about the hearing, nor the release by the committee’s Republican office, made any mention of NASA funding, but a GovExec.com article noted that NASA funding was a topic of the hearing. Members of both parties expressed concern that NASA funding is not sufficient to support all of its priorities, both science and exploration. Committee chairman Bart Gordon also complained about NASA’s exclusion from the American Competitiveness Initiative unveiled by the Bush Administration a year ago, questioning “whether that means the administration does not view aeronautics, earth and space sciences as ‘world-class’ sciences,” according to the article.
Marburger responded that while the administration supports NASA, “frankly it’s funded better than the physical sciences in these other agencies that have been under-funded for a long time — and we need to catch up.” As for strains on the NASA budget, Marburger reminded members that Congress passed the joint funding resolution that funds NASA at its FY06 levels for FY07, and that without an increase it would “jeopardize the vision for space exploration plus priority earth and space science missions.”