Campaign '08, Congress

Arguing over a nonexistent $3 billion

From a news report about a debate betweem Re. Nick Lampson (D-TX) and Pete Olson, his Republican challenger in the November election for the 22nd congressional district in the Houston area:

“I’d like to address one of the congressman’s statements that he got $3 billion for NASA. That’s simply not true. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson did the heavy lifting for that,” said Olson.

“Well, first let me say Kay Bailey Hutchinson works in the Senate, not in the House. I work in the House and I was one of the leaders that made it happen,” said Lampson.

The first part of Olson’s statement is true: Nick Lampson didn’t get $3 billion (extra, presumably) for NASA. But then, neither did Sen. Hutchison, or anyone else in Congress. They appear to be referring to the recently-passed NASA authorization act, which authorizes $20.2 billion for NASA in 2009, about $3 billion more than what was appropriated in FY08. However, it’s likely that, when (and if) a final FY09 appropriations bill is passed, NASA’s funding will come up short of that $20.2 billion mark, probably by a significant amount.

3 comments to Arguing over a nonexistent $3 billion

  • Al Fansome

    FOUST: However, it’s unlikely that, when (and if) a final FY09 authorization bill is passed,


    I think you meant “appropriation” bill here. :-)


    – Al

  • Jeff Foust

    Al: oops, you’re right. I’ve corrected it in the post. Teaches me for trying to dash off a post under time constraints…

  • Arnaud

    Um, still not sure about the meaning. Based on the context, shouldn’t the last sentence read “However, it is LIKELY that funding will come up short of that ? If I understand your intention correctly to state that whatever has happened in the past, the final actual budget for NASA will be lower than 20 B$ (and possibly, one would think, even lower than 17 B$)?

    3 B$ even in NASA terms is quite significant money, they could do quite a lot with that…


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