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Sequester Starts, NASA to Lose $896 Million

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 02-Mar-2013
Updated: 02-Mar-2013 02:36 PM

Last night President Obama issued the sequestration order required under the 2011 Budget Control Act.   Unless an agreement is reached to end the sequester before FY2013 runs out, defense agencies will lose 7.8 percent of their FY2013 funding levels and non-defense agencies like NASA will lose 5 percent.  The cuts are applied to each budget account equally.

The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) notified affected agencies that the President had issued the sequestration order in a memorandum and sent Congress a 70-page report detailing exactly how much must be cut from each budget account.  Some agencies have limited authority to transfer funds between accounts so the numbers are not absolute, but should be pretty close at the account level.   The cuts also are intended to be applied equally to "all programs, projects, and activities within a budget account," but how strictly that phrase is interpreted could vary, thus it is not possible to say precisely how a particular NASA program will fare.

The federal government is currently operating under a Continuing Resolution (CR) that generally holds agencies to their FY2012 funding levels plus a 0.612 percent increase.   Those are the amounts to which the sequester applies and some activities are exempt.  According to the OMB report, NASA's budget accounts will be cut a total of $896 million as follows (the figures are from the OMB report except for the totals, which were calculated by SpacePolicyOnline.com, and we must add a caveat that a September 2012 OMB report indicated that some activities, especially in Cross Agency Support, are not subject to the sequester and thus may not be shown here, which could affect the totals):

 

Impact of Sequester on NASA (in millions of dollars)

Account

Amount Subject to Sequester

Reduction Due to Sequester

Inspector Gen

39

2

Space Ops

4,247

212

Science

5,116

256

Cross Agency Support

3,012

151

Exploration

3,790

190

Aeronautics

573

29

Education

137

7

Construction, Env Compl & Remd

402

20

Space Technology

579

29

Sci, Sp, Tech Ed Trust Fund

1

*

TOTAL

17,896

896

Source:  OMB Report to the Congress on the Joint Committee Sequestration for FY2013, March 1, 2013.
*denotes $500,000 or less
**some activities (e.g. in Cross Agency Support) are exempt; amounts shown here are only what is subject to the sequester

 


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