The deadline for sequestration has come and gone, but another deadline is looming: the continuing resolution (CR) that funds the federal government at fiscal year 2012 levels expires on March 27. On Monday, the House Appropriations Committee introduced a new continuing resolution that would run through the end of fiscal year 2013. The CR would fund most programs at 2012 levels, but there are a few exceptions in various agencies, including NASA. The table below compares the FY12 levels with those in the FY13 bill for NASA’s various accounts (all values in millions of dollars):
|Cross Agency Support||$2,995.0||$2,847.4|
|Office of Inspector General||$37.3||$37.3|
While most accounts are not changed by the new CR, the bill does decrease funding for Space Operations and Cross Agency Support, while increasing Exploration by a corresponding amount. The CR, like the FY12 appropriations bill, includes specific breakouts for programs in the Exploration account, revealing increases for both the Space Launch System (SLS) heavy-lift rocket and the Commercial Crew program:
The $525 million for Commercial Crew is what the Senate had included in its previous FY13 appropriations bill; in the deal between NASA and Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA), chairman of the appropriations subcommittee that funds the agency, Wolf had agreed to support funding for the program at or near the Senate’s level (the House’s version of an FY13 appropriations bill last year funded Commercial Crew at $500 millon.) The increase in SLS funding isn’t explained; even with the increase, it falls well short of the $2.64 billion authorized for the program in the 2010 NASA Authorization Act.
Separately, for NOAA’s budget, the House CR sets aside $802 million of the agency’s $1.95 billion procurement budget for the GOES-R weather satellite program. The press release from the committee notes that the bill includes a “provision allowing additional funding to maintain the launch schedule for new weather satellites, ensuring the continuation of data for weather warnings and forecasts, including forecasts of severe weather events.”
The full House is scheduled to take up the bill as soon as Wednesday. The amounts listed above are still subject to 5% cuts from sequestration, as the CR does not address the deficit reduction requirements of the Budget Control Act.