SpacePolicyOnline.com Latest News
The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has released the FY2012 budget request. It can be viewed on OMB's website. Top level information for government departments and agencies is provided. Detailed budget information is usually released by each department or agency later in the day.
NASA's detailed budget is expected to be posted on NASA's website at 1:30 today. The total requested for NASA for FY2012 is $18.7 billion, the same as its FY2010 level. For NOAA, the OMB documents state that $1.9 billion is requested for NOAA's satellite programs, including geostationary and polar-orbiting weather satellites. The only mention of space systems in the brief write-up about DOD is $975 million for the Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) communications satellite system. It also says that DOD will implement an "innovative satellite acquisition approach in order to reduce costs and strengthen the industrial base."
Keeping track of congressional action on NASA's budget is hard enough today, but it will become that much more difficult tomorrow with the release of President Obama's FY2012 budget request. We have just published a new fact sheet that will track NASA's FY2011 appropriations bill as it continues to be considered in Congress. We will publish a separate fact sheet on the FY2012 request in the near future.
The new FY2011 fact sheet, NASA's FY2011 Appropriations: the Debate Continues in the 112th Congress, is available under "Our Fact Sheets and Reports" on the left menu. The fact sheet will be updated as necessary.
The House Appropriations Committee's version of the next Continuing Resolution (CR) does more than cut NASA's budget. It prohibits spending money on anything that would lead to space cooperation with China, and releases NASA from the prohibition against cancelling the Constellation program that was in an earlier appropriations bill.
The cuts to NASA are shown in a new SpacePolicyOnline.com Fact Sheet that will track NASA's FY2011 appropriations as they continue to be considered in the 112th Congress. An earlier version of the House Appropriations Committee's recommendations, released last Wednesday, called for cutting NASA $379 million from its FY2011 request as part of an overall $74 billion cut to federal spending for FY2011. Conservative "Tea Party" Republicans rejected the committee's recommendations because they had pledged a $100 billion cut during their campaigns. The committee members regrouped and on Friday issued their revised recommendations that total $100 billion.
(b) The limitation in subsection (a) shall also apply to any funds used to effectuate the hosting of official Chinese visitors at facilities belonging to or utilized by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
The House Appropriations Committee let another shoe drop today with its revised cuts to domestic discretionary spending in the latest version of a Continuing Resolution (CR) to tund the government for the rest of FY2011. The CR is written as a revision of the FY2011 appropriations for the Department of Defense.
The committee's first proposal issued on Wednesday would have cut $379 million from NASA's FY2011 request, and a total of $74 billion from the President's overall FY2011 request for domestic discretionary spending. Tea Party Republicans demanded that the cut be $100 billion, however, and the appropriations committee was forced to propose deeper cuts. The new proposal would cut the $100 billion overall from the FY2011 request, of which $578.7 million is from NASA's FY2011 request of $19.0 billion. The following statement was made by the committee with regard to NASA, as well as NOAA's satellite activities:
Space policy wonks are more than curious to know what will be in the President's FY2012 budget request for NASA due to be submitted to Congress on Monday. The agency will hold a press briefing at 2:00 pm EST that day in the auditorium at NASA Headquarters, which will be telecast on NASA TV.
The budget request ordinarily is available on the website of the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) around 9:00 am on the day of its release, but does not include programmatic specifics. Those are provided throughout the day in agency briefings. Information on budget briefings by NOAA and the Department of Defense will be posted here when they are available.
Senator Jon Kyl's (R-AZ) announcement today that he will not run for reelection in 2012 set off rampant speculation as to who will compete to replace him. One of the often mentioned names is Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ). Almost unthinkable four weeks ago in the immediate aftermath of the shooting rampage that left six dead and the Congresswoman critically injured with a gunshot wound to the head, her miraculous recovery to date continues to spur optimism about her future.
Earlier this week, Politico ran a long article about Rep. Giffords and her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly. The article revealed that Rep. Giffords now is eating three meals a day and on Monday was able to speak, asking for toast for breakfast. Other news stories quote her close friend Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) as confirming that Rep. Giffords did in fact verbalize the word toast and hinted it was not the first time she had spoken since the shooting. Her ability to speak is viewed as another milestone in her recovery. Kelly declined to answer reporters' questions last week as to whether she was able to speak or not.
NASA's Inspector General (IG), Paul Martin, is testifying to the House Appropriations Commerce-Justice-Science (CJS) subcommittee this morning. His written testimony is available on the Office of Inspector General (OIG) website.
Martin's bottom line is that NASA is in a "state of significant uncertainty" and its "most immediate challenge" is managing the agency's programs "amid the continuing lack of clarity caused by conflicting legislative directives" in the 2010 NASA Authorization Act and the FY2010 Consolidated Appropriations Act that prohibits NASA from cancelling the Constellation program or initiating a replacement program until Congress gives its approval in a subsequent appropriations act.
The cuts proposed yesterday by the House Appropriations Committee reportedly are not being warmly received by the conservative Tea Party Republicans in the House who promised to cut $100 billion in spending during their campaigns.
Doing the math is a problem in calculating how much of a cut was proposed, starting with the fundamental question of whether the baseline is the President's FY2011 budget request or the FY2010 appropriated levels under which the government is currently operating based on the Continuing Resolution (CR). Appropriators used the FY2011 President's request as their baseline, but apparently the Tea Party Republicans want the cut to be from current spending, which is the FY2010 level. If the FY2011 request is used, the House Appropriations Committee's cuts would total $74 billion. If the FY2010 level is used, the cut is only $32 billion according to calculations by the newspaper The Hill.
Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY), chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, announced this afternoon that his committee will yield to demands of the Tea Party Republicans and cut $100 billion from the budget in the upcoming Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund the government for the rest of FY2011. The cut will be from the FY2011 President's budget request, not current spending levels at the FY2010 level. Details on where the additional cuts will come from were not revealed.
The cuts announced by the committee yesterday totalled $74 billion from the FY2011 request, meaning that an additional $26 billion in cuts are needed. The cuts will have an even greater impact because they will have to be absorbed by the affected agencies over just 7 months instead of 12 months because the new legislation will not be enacted until at least March, when five months of FY2011 will have elapsed.
Events of Interest