Little, if any, progress was made Tuesday to come up with a deal to fund the federal government for the rest of fiscal year 2011, increasing the chances of a federal government shutdown come Friday night. While there’s no sign of a breakthrough that could lead to a deal by the deadline, that deadline could get moved. The House Appropriations Committee has introduced another continuing resolution (CR) which would fund the government for another week, and in addition fund the Defense Department through the rest of the fiscal year. That CR does include $12 billion in budget cuts, including $139 million for NASA: $40 million from its construction account and $99 million from its space operations account, according to the text of the legislation. However, there’s no guarantee that this CR would pass both houses of Congress, and President Obama said Tuesday he was opposed to another short-term CR.
Meanwhile, despite all the focus on the current year spending bill, the House Budget Committee released Tuesday its budget blueprint for FY 2012. The document reiterates earlier proposals to cut federal spending for non-defense discretionary programs, this time to “below 2008 levels”. The document doesn’t go into specifics; despite some lobbying by Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL) and Reps. Sandy Adams (R-FL) and Pete Olson (R-TX) asking Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), chairman of the budget committee, to prioritize or otherwise protect human spaceflight programs at NASA, the document is silent on the space agency and human spaceflight.