It looks like the final FY2011 budget for NASA and other federal agencies won’t come until well into calendar year 2011. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid pulled from consideration an omnibus spending bill introduced earlier this week because there weren’t 60 votes to stop debate. Last week the House passed its own year-long continuing resolution (CR) with NASA funding levels and other provisions similar to the Senate bill, but POLITICO reports that the Senate is also unlikely to vote on that. Instead, both the House and Senate will have to pass another CR to fund agencies at 2010 levels, most likely into February.
[Update 7:45 pm Friday: As Space News and others have reported, the House has passed a short-term, three-day CR instead of a longer one, to try and buy time for the Senate to either pass the House’s year-long CR or another measure.]
In the House, the leadership and membership of the House Science and Technology Committee is taking shape after Rep. Ralph Hall (R-TX) was picked last week to chair the committee. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), as expected, has been selected by House Democrats to be the ranking member of the committee next year; she declared her candidacy for the post last month. Also, former committee chairman Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) will serve as vice-chairman, handling “mean things” that Hall said he wouldn’t to do as chairman. Sensenbrenner, who chaired the committee from 1997-2001, took on the vice-chairmanship under a deal whereby Hall will back Sensenbrenner to be the committee’s top Republican in two years when Hall reaches his term limits on the committee, according to POLITICO.
Among Republicans selected to serve on the committee is Rep.-elect Mo Brooks (R-AL), elected in November from the district that includes NASA Marshall. Brooks succeeds Parker Griffith, who was on the committee when first elected as a Democrat two years ago; he lost his committee post when he switched parties a year ago, but was able to participate in some hearings.