Congress, NASA

Senate committee to take up NASA spending bill

The Senate Appropriations Committee is scheduled to take action this week on an appropriations bill that includes funding for NASA. The Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS) appropriations committee will markup its version of the bill at 2:30 pm today (138 Dirksen); the full appropriations committee will then deal with the bill tomorrow at 3 pm (106 Dirksen). Recall that the full House passed a CJS appropriations bill, HR 2847, last week that funded NASA at $18.2 billion for fiscal year 2010, including a significant cut in exploration.

17 comments to Senate committee to take up NASA spending bill

  • Major Tom

    As Mr. Pomerantz at the X PRIZE Foundation notes in his blog:

    http://thelaunchpad.xprize.org/2009/06/successful-nasa-program-in-jeopardy.html

    It’s not just Constellation that got cut in the House mark. The best programs in Innovative Partnerships, including NASA prizes and research payloads to fly on new commercial suborbital vehicles, were zeroed out. The budgets for these programs are measured in the single millions of dollars and are arguably more important to the development of the industry and expansion of human space flight than the billions being spent on Ares I/Orion. Given their strong performance to date, the funding for the Innovative Partnerships programs should be restored in the Senate bill long before the House’s relatively minor reduction to the overrunning, behind schedule, and technically plagued Ares I/Orion projects.

    FWIW…

  • Is there a pattern here? The administration funds astronomically huge and vapid programs driving the US economy into deep deficit, then cuts every program they don’t want in order to redress the balance.

    IWMM

  • Mark R. Whittington

    “The best programs in Innovative Partnerships, including NASA prizes and research payloads to fly on new commercial suborbital vehicles, were zeroed out.”

    This is what comes when a government that is at best indifferent to things space and actually hostile to the private sector is elected. While people have been bloviating on the Internet about Ares, the Congress has been busily gutting things like Centennial Prizes. It seems to be a lack of focus on the part of people who call themselves space activists.

  • Major Tom

    “Is there a pattern here? The administration funds astronomically huge and vapid programs driving the US economy into deep deficit, then cuts every program they don’t want in order to redress the balance.”

    The cuts to these Innovative Partnership programs were made by the Congress (the House), not the Administration (NASA and the White House). It was NASA and the White House that proposed to spend funds on these Innovative Partnership programs in the 2010 budget in the first place.

    It’s okay to criticize the Obama Administration, but let’s do so based on facts, not falsehoods.

    FWIW…

  • Sheridan

    Mark,
    That’s because, for the most part, the activists within the community don’t actually understand what’s really going on. All too often they are not interested in finding out the realities of the program and are more interested in simply believing everything they are told by “those in charge”. More frightening than that, this seems to apply almost as often to my colleagues who work inside the fence as it does to those on the outside looking in. The lack of interest, motivation and the total lack of reasoned thinking are each just as serious a problem today as a lack of focus. The agency has lost its way so terribly in recent years.

  • Major Tom

    “This is what comes when a government that is at best indifferent to things space and actually hostile to the private sector is elected.”

    The same cuts were made to NASA’s prize program under the last Republican Congress and under the Bush II Administration. The problem is parochialism, not Democrat or Republican party doctrine.

    Moreover, the Obama Administration has opposed these cuts in writing. See:

    http://www.nasawatch.com/archives/2009/06/white_house_omb.html

    “While people have been bloviating on the Internet about Ares…”

    You do know that a blue-ribbon panel has been established to review Ares I/V (and Orion and the rest of Constellation), right? You don’t expect people to discuss civil space policy and not address the elephant in the room that will drive the future of NASA’s human space flight activities and spending at the rest of the agency, right? You can’t possibly be that ignorant or oblivious, right?

    “… the Congress has been busily gutting things like Centennial Prizes

    The program is called Centennial Challenges, not “Centennial Prizes”. If we’re going to bloviate about a subject, let’s at least get its name right.

    “It seems to be a lack of focus on the part of people who call themselves space activists.”

    And you did what to oppose these cuts before reading this post?

    Stones, glass houses, and all that.

    FWIW…

  • ‘It’s okay to criticize the Obama Administration, but let’s do so based on facts, not falsehoods.’
    Let’s not play with words Tom; Obama’s administration has created deficits vastly exceeding any in history, a tiny fraction of which could have paid for a fully funded space program.

    IWMM

  • Ferris Valyn

    MMB – back up. Obama didn’t create the deficits. The money for the 2 wars was off books until recently (ie before Obama), which means they weren’t being taken into account, which is irresponsible. Secondly, the majority of the bailout money came… before Obama was in office.

    You want to claim that the deficits are huge, be my guest. But don’t imply its all about Obama, or that means there will be no money for space.

  • common sense

    Just a quick review of the REAL facts: The current WH is the reason why everything is going down the drain in this country. It is quite clear in a matter of about, what, 6 months, they actually ruined the country. It is quite an accomplishment! It is actually fortunate that all previous Administrations AND Congress were really competent because otherwise they could have ruined the country in maybe just 1 month.

    Ah, so much longing for the Bush administration. At least they demonstrated they could take car of this nation really well: 9/11, Katrina, 2 wars without ends, seem to be the best examples coming to mind. Then financially they clearly put us on a path to wealth with the real estate bubble, and the financial speculation that they did not even understand themselves. It’s great that we had Hank Paulson, Alan Greenspan and Ben Bernanke, all three great fiscal conservatives. Otherwise it could have been a real mess! Oh but wait! Paulson started the bail out with a neat little $750M request because of the real estate mess thaat was orchestrated by whom? Greenspan maybe? Interest rates anyone? Ah and yeah Bernanke is still here but we do have a new entrant Tim Geithner. blahblahblahblah…. Space program blahblahblah… Very constructive and creative criticism. At least now we are going somewhere.

    How about some real criticism about what the current WH is CURRENTLY doing? Unfortunately it would not belong to SPACE POLITICS. There are way more important issues than Space that need criticism BUT they are not about Space: It looks like they clearly and (un)fortunately are doing the right thing for Space. It does not mean y’all or even I have to like the results. Sometime therapy is not nice. Go blame the program leadership about the management and technical performances, those who were hired in the first place to do the job way back when.

    Hey Major Tom, how would you say? Something like “Stones, glass houses, and all that.”

  • Major Tom

    “Let’s not play with words Tom”

    I did not “play with words”. I simply showed that your argument has no basis in fact.

    You claimed that the Administration is funding large deficits with one hand while cutting good programs like Innovative Partnerships with the other. I simply pointed out that the Administration had nothing to do with the House cuts to Innovative Partnerships and in fact requested the funding for Innovative Partnerships in the first place and has actually opposed the House cuts to those programs in writing.

    Pointing out that someone’s argument has no basis in fact is not the same thing as playing with words.

    And I’ll reiterate, it’s fine to criticize the Obama Administration (or any other White House), but we need to do so based on facts, not falsehoods.

    “Obama’s administration has created deficits vastly exceeding any in history”

    Another falsehood — this statement is just factually untrue. The U.S. ran higher deficits during WWI and much higher deficits during WWII. See:

    http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/downchart_gs.php?year=1900_2014&view=1&expand=&units=p&fy=fy10&chart=G0-fed&bar=0&stack=1&size=m&title=US%20Federal%20Deficit%20As%20Percent%20Of%20GDP&state=US&color=c&local=s

    There may be much to criticize about the Recovery Act, the bank bailouts, or the auto bailouts. (I would certainly make such criticisms myself on a different, appropriate blog about the federal budget or the U.S. economy.) But your argument about the deficit is again based on made up, untrue claims, not facts.

    I’ll reiterate a second time, it’s fine to criticize the Obama Administration (or any other White House), but we need to do so based on facts, not falsehoods.

    “a tiny fraction of which could have paid for a fully funded space program.”

    How is our civil space program not fully funded? Between the stimulus and the FY 2010 budget request, there’s actually a small increase to NASA’s budget versus the last Bush II budget for NASA. The NASA budgets in 2009, 2010, and 2011 are a combined $2,001 million higher. The FY 2010 budget request for NASA is $957 million less than the FY 2009 budget request for NASA in 2012 and 2013. And the House has proposed cutting the White House’s FY 2010 budget request for NASA by another $670 million (although the Senate appears likely to reverse that cut). The net is a $374 million increase to NASA’s budget from 2009 through 2013.

    Moreoever, the money is coming earlier, which increases NASA’s purchasing power. This is also what the Constellation program has wanted for years — more budget before Shuttle retires so that Ares I/Orion development could follow a more natural development curve that was less constrained by Shuttle flyout costs.

    Unfortunately, although Constellation was given what it wanted, NASA’s own estimates just for Ares I development have ballooned from $28 billion to $35-40 billion, and NASA’s own projected costs for Constellation through first lunar landing have nearly doubled from $57 billion to $92 billion.

    The problem is not the budget. Rather, the problem is that Ares I and Constellation costs overall are skyrocketing and far outstripping the budget, whether it’s the accelerated Obama Administration’s budget profile or the old Bush II Administration’s budget profile.

    Regardless of what’s happening with the federal deficit, NASA’s human space flight programs are still projected to get about $10 billion per year or over $100 billion through 2020. That’s a massive amount of taxpayer dollars for a program with a record of very few tangible returns. It’s not a question of whether it’s enough but how well it’s being spent.

    FWIW…

  • […] See the original post:  Space Politics » Senate committee to take up NASA spending bill […]

  • Rhyolite

    “Obama’s administration has created deficits vastly exceeding any in history”

    Hmmm….let’s check with the treasury department:

    http://www.treasurydirect.gov/NP/BPDLogin?application=np

    Total Public Debt 1/22/08: $ 9,188,640,287,930.39
    Total Public Debt 1/20/09: $10,626,877,048,913.08

    In other words, the real deficit for the last 363 days of the Bush administration was $1.44 Trillion. The difference between Obama’s first deficit ($1.82 Trillion estimated) and Bush’s last deficit is about 25%. Yes, the deficits are going up but the real jump (from essentially zero in 2000) occurred during the previous administration.

    The previous administration has left the US with a yawning structural deficit. It is fair to criticize the current the current one for expanding but we should be clear that the bulk of the deficit did not originate with it.

  • It is fair to criticize the current the current one for expanding but we should be clear that the bulk of the deficit did not originate with it.

    It’s also fair to criticize it for wanting to explode it in the out years, or at least promoting policies that will have that effect.

  • Major Tom, could you please send me an email that I could use to send you a document I’d like you to review? simberg at transterrestrial.com

  • Major Tom

    “Major Tom, could you please send me an email”

    Sent. It’s just my old anonymous.space@yahoo.com address.

  • DCM

    The fact is we probably all have to live with budget cuts. We need to maintain our defense systems involving the space program, but then again, they should not be exempt from budget cutting any more than anyone else. I love watching the NASA progress in space, but the things we’ve learned from space for man’s benefit, I believe are greatly exaggerated. Everyone wants their piece of the pie. Let’s all tighten our belts a little.

  • […] To get back to the OP’s original question, some info to think about (besides BRAC numbers): America’s Recession-Proof Cities – Forbes.com Recession Hurting U.S. Cities At "Radically Varying Levels" And voila: Forbes Names Huntsville a Top-5 Place for Recession Recovery According to the news media, as long as we keep getting those gov’t dollars, we should be sitting pretty. But that’s the caveat. We need the gov’t appropriations committee to keep us alive. Space Politics Senate committee to take up NASA spending bill […]

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