Monday night the Senate Appropriations Committee released its version of a full year fiscal year 2013 continuing resolution and appropriations bill, which includes a full appropriations bill for Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS). The top-level NASA figure is slightly higher than the House CR passed last week, at $17.86 billion (but see caveats below about rescissions and sequestration.) Science, Space Technology, and Construction get a bit more, while Exploration and Space Operations get somewhat less. The table below compares the FY12 levels with the House CR levels and the those in the Senate bill:
|Account||FY12||FY13 full CR||Senate FY13 bill|
|Cross Agency Support||$2,995.0||$2,847.4||$2,823.0|
|Office of Inspector General||$37.3||$37.3||$38.0|
The bill itself also defines spending levels for the various Exploration programs, illustrating that SLS accounts for almost all the difference between the House and Senate bills for that account:
|Item||FY12||FY13 CR||Senate bill|
However, the Construction account includes $262.4 million for SLS ground equipment, bringing the overall spending for the SLS program up to the same level as the House CR.
A separate explanatory statement for the CJS portion of the bill provides additional guidance. That statement gives NASA’s planetary science division $1.415 billion of the Science funding, an increase of more than $200 million over the administration’s FY13 request. $75 million of that is explicitly set aside in the bill for “pre-formulation and/or formulation activities” for a Europa mission, the second-highest priority for a flagship-class mission in the planetary science decadal survey.
In other sections, the statement calls on NASA “to identify and implement ways to accelerate the schedule” of the 130-ton version of the SLS. It also states that the committee expects future elements of NASA’s commercial crew program “will be funded via Federal Acquisition Regulation–based contracts” rather than the Space Act Agreements currently used.
Update: it’s not explicitly mentioned above, but the figures above are before the five-percent sequester. In addition, though, the Senate bill has at the end a rescission provision, cutting all the amounts in the CJS section of the bill by 1.877%. That reduces NASA’s total from $17.862 billion to $17.527 billion. When sequestration is then implemented, it reduces NASA’s overall budget further, to $16.65 billion.
The House CR also included a rescission, but by a smaller amount: 0.098%. Take that off the House total of $17.8 billion, and the agency is left with $17.626 billion pre-sequestration, or $16.745 billion after sequestration. So while NASA overall gets more in the Senate bill than the House version, it actually ends up with slightly less overall because of the differing rescission amounts. (For the record, the administration’s own estimate for the impact of sequestration on NASA’s budget, assuming a full-year CR without any changes, resulted in a total NASA budget of $16.999 billion.)