Congress, NASA

This week: appropriations and authorization markups

There are no summer doldrums in Congress this week as two committees in the House and Senate work on versions of appropriations bills that are likely to fund NASA at differing levels, while a NASA authorization bill moves on in the House.

At 10 am EDT today, the Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS) subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee will markup its version of an appropriations bill that funds, among other agencies, NASA and NOAA. The committee has not released any details about that bill, but the expectation is that, for NASA, it will differ from the House version both in the overall amount and the allocation among the various programs.

At 10 am EDT Wednesday, the full House Appropriations Committee is scheduled to markup its CJS appropriations bill, which breezed through a subcommittee markup last week. This should also be an opportunity for the committee to release the report accompanying the bill, which goes into more details about allocations of funds within the various accounts and additional provisions.

At 9:15 am EDT Thursday, the full House Science Committee will markup the NASA Authorization Act of 2013, which the space subcommittee passed on a party-line vote last week. The bill’s approval by the full committee appears likely (if, again, along party lines); one thing to look for is if the full committee addresses concerns raised by the committee vice chair, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), in last week’s subcommittee markup about a provision calling for the use of FAR-based “cost-type” contracts in the next round of the commercial crew program.

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