When it comes to NASA’s budget, administrator Charles Bolden is trying to sound optimistic. In an interview with the Charleston (SC) Post & Courier, Bolden said he didn’t know what the impact of possible spending cuts would be on NASA. “It may be that the Congress decides that they really think exploration is really important … and we’ll find the level of funding is OK,” he said.
However, the House is expected to vote next week on a resolution to cut discretionary spending back to 2008 levels, a move that, if backed up by later appropriations legislation, would cut NASA spending from the $18.7 billion in FY2010 (and $19 billion in the FY11 proposal) to $17.4 billion. An AP article suggests that the White House is warning of dire consequences to agencies like NASA should those spending cuts be enacted:
Republicans in Texas, Florida and Alabama – where NASA facilities mean thousands of jobs – are sure to fight against cuts to the space agency, which could have to abandon the International Space Station, the White House warns.
The source of that warning about abandoning the ISS isn’t mentioned in the AP article, but that outcome seems unlikely. Instead, it appears to be more like a version of “Washington Monument Syndrome”, where a popular or important program is threatened with closure in response to proposed budget cuts.