The Augustine committee’s final report is now expected out next week (something the committee confirmed in a Twitter posting Friday morning) but a draft version of that report is already at NASA and the White House, Space News reported. The article, citing “sources both within the administration and close to it”, states that the administration is considering proposing a budget increase along the lines of what the Augustine committee considers necessary to enable human exploration beyond LEO: a gradual increase that leads to the $3-billion increase by 2014 widely reported. That’s different from efforts in Congress to give NASA an immediate, but one-time, $3-billion increase by taking money from unspent stimulus funds.
As for what option the agency and White House are considering, the Space News article indicates that the so-called “flexible path” option, which defers lunar landings for lunar flybys, NEO missions, and other destinations, is “an attractive option” within the space agency. The White House, an unnamed administration official states, considered a human return to the Moon “not sellable to the public or to the president”.