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Senate Appropriations Subcommittee Approves $18 Billion for NASA in FY2014

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 16-Jul-2013
Updated: 16-Jul-2013 12:00 PM

The Senate appropriations subcommittee with jurisdiction over NASA approved $18 billion for the agency for FY2014 this morning, a significant increase over the level recommended by its House counterpart last week and more than the Obama Administration requested.

The Senate Appropriations Commerce-Justice-Science (CJS) subcommittee, chaired by Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), who also chairs the full committee, approved the bill with little discussion in a short markup session.  Full committee markup is scheduled for Thursday at 10:00 am ET.

Little mention was made of NASA during the markup and the press release provides few details.   The subcommittee approved $18 billion for FY2014, an increase above the $17.7 billion requested by the Obama Administration and significantly more than the amount approved by its House counterpart -- $16.6 billion (the full House Appropriations Committee will consider its subcommittee's recommendations tomorrow, but major changes are not expected).

What can be gleaned so far from the Senate subcommittee's action this morning is that NASA would receive $18 billion.  The press release adds that the funds:

  • will "preserve a NASA portfolio balanced among science, aeronautics, technology and human space flight investments";
  • includes $373 million more for Science than the House CJS subcommittee's recommendation; and
  • provides $597 million more [presumably more than the House subcommittee] "to let humans explore beyond low Earth orbit while safely sending our astronauts to the space station on U.S. made vehicles."

Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL), ranking member of the subcommittee and of the full committee, said during the markup that the bill also includes language to increase transparency in the commercial crew program.  Shelby added that although the bill was developed in a bipartisan manner and he agrees with its priorities, because the total funding level that was allowed under the Senate Budget Resolution is too high in his opinion, he plans to vote against it.  The total amount of funding provided by the bill is $52.3 billion.


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