Congress Keeps Working on Budgets: Senate CR, House Budget Resolution Introduced
President Obama may be late in sending his FY2014 budget request to Congress, but Congress is continuing to work both on FY2013 and FY2014 budget matters.
Late last night, Senators Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and Richard Shelby (R-AL), chairwoman and vice chairman, respectively, of the Senate Appropriations Committee, introduced the Senate version of the FY2013 Continuing Resolution (CR). The House passed its version last week. That legislation is for the remaining months of FY2013, which began last October. SpacePolicyOnline.com will publish an article summarizing the Senate CR later. Sorting out the numbers is no easy task and what looks like good news for NASA and NOAA at first glance isn't quite so good after reading the fine print. The fact that the bill is bipartisan makes its chances for clearing the Senate better than usual, but whether the House will agree is another matter.
That's all about the current fiscal year. Today, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), chairman of the House Budget Committee, offered the opening round in negotiations over the FY2014 budget and beyond by introducing the House version of the FY2014 budget resolution.
Budget resolutions make top-level funding recommendations not on an agency-by-agency basis, but by separating government spending into about 20 "budget functions." Most of NASA's funding, for example, is in function 250 (general science, space, and technology), except for its aeronautics budget which is in function 400 (transportation). It is not possible to say what effect the budget resolution would have on NASA or other agencies other than in broad terms. Since Paul's new budget resolution proposes cutting spending over the next 10 years such that the nation's budget will be balanced at the end of that decade -- instead of balancing it over 25 years as proposed last year (see an analysis in The Hill newspaper) -- one can imagine that space spending would be subject to further reductions. The Senate Budget Committee is expected to release its version of the FY2014 budget resolution later this week.
Meanwhile, although Congress is still waiting for President Obama to submit his FY2014 budget request, some committees are proceeding with hearings anyway. The House Appropriations Commerce-Justice-Science (CJS) subcommittee announced today that it will hold a hearing with NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden next week.
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