The Commerce, Justice, and Science subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee held a hearing yesterday that included some discussion of NASA funding (you can be excused if you didn’t hear about it, since there were no details about the hearing released on the subcommittee’s web site). One person who did testify was Planetary Society executive director Lou Friedman, who argued, to no one’s surprise, that NASA funding cuts had “distorted” the Vision for Space Exploration: “Its mantra, ‘go as you pay,’ has become ‘go as you cannibalize other programs.’ Its scientific underpinnings have been removed, leaving it suspended with uncertain public support and public interest.” Friedman calls for increased NASA funding to “restore the Vision’s scientific underpinnings”. “If such a realistic budget increase is impossible, then the Vision’s timetable should be stretched.”
Meanwhile, the Huntsville Times reports that one member of the subcommittee is asking for more money for NASA. Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL) sent a letter to the chairman and ranking member of the subcommittee “asking for serious consideration to a NASA budget shortfall of about $500 million.” Aderholt, whose district is just south of Huntsville, is concerned in particular about support for Marshall’s Ares 1 and lunar exploration programs.