The House passed Wednesday evening HR 1, the stimulus bill, with $600 million for NASA for Earth sciences, aeronautics, and hurricane repair work. As the Houston Chronicle notes, the bill does not include the additional $2 billion to reduce the Shuttle-Constellation act that had been sought by freshman Rep. Suzanne Kosmas (D-FL). Indeed, it’s hard to figure out what happened to that proposal: Kosmas announced Tuesday that she was offering the amendment, but the amendment does not show up on the list of amendments that were debated on the House floor on Wednesday prior to the vote. In any case, it’s up to the Senate, whose version of the stimulus bill is a little more generous to NASA, to give NASA, and in particular spaceflight programs, additional funding—and hope it survives the eventual House-Senate conference to reconcile the two bills.
Update: A reader pointed me to a statement in yesterday’s Congressional Record by Rep. Ralph Hall (R-TX) where he expresses his “deep disappointment at a missed opportunity” in the stimulus bill, namely, adding funding to reduce the gap. At the end of the statement he notes that Kosmas’s amendment was rejected by the Rules Committee, for reasons unspecified.
Elsewhere in the statement, Hall says, “It makes me sick that we are bailing out failed banks and corporations while ignoring the support of a successful Space Station and space program—a program that could defend our nation from space and provide a cure for our most deadly diseases.” [emphasis added] Unfortunately, Hall doesn’t elaborate on how the ISS or other NASA spacecraft can protect the US from attacks by, say, China, Iran, or the Klingon homeworld.