The House Appropriations Committee, as expected, approved a Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS) appropriations bill Wednesday, sending the legislation on to the full House on a voice vote. The committee accepted a few amendments during the full committee markup, none of which affected NASA, leaving the funding levels in the earlier version of the bill and accompanying report unchanged. “They’ve been treated very, very fair,” Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA), chairman of the CJS subcommittee, said of NASA in comments to Florida Today after the markup.
NASA, though, would beg to differ. “While we appreciate the support of the Committee, we are deeply concerned that the bill under consideration would set our funding level significantly below the President’s request,” the agency said in a statement released just before the markup by NASA associate administrator for communications David Weaver. “We are especially concerned the bill cuts funding for space technology – the ‘seed corn’ that allows the nation to conduct ever more capable and affordable space missions – and the innovative and cost-effective commercial crew program.”
Those commercial crew and space technology cuts are also worrying to the Commercial Spaceflight Federation (CSF), an industry group. “Less funding for the commercial crew program simply equates to prolonged dependence on foreign launch providers,” said CSF president Michael Lopez-Alegria in a statement. CSF executive director Alex Saltman added that the organization hopes to work with appropriators to increase funding for those programs in later stages of the appropriations process.