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Sat, Jul 20, 2013

House Science Committee NASA Budget Does Not Fund Asteroid Mission

Committee Approves $16.8 Billion It Says Prioritizes NASA’s Missions

The Committee on Science, Space, and Technology on Thursday approved the NASA Authorization Act of 2013 [H.R. 2687]  to reauthorize programs at NASA for two years, including a topline budget of $16.8 billion dollars, which is consistent with the requirements of the Budget Control Act.

“The NASA Authorization Act offers us the opportunity to set goals and establish priorities for the greatest space program in the world," said Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) (pictured). "That is our responsibility—to take the initiative, make decisions and govern. I remain hopeful that the House and Senate will find a mutually agreed-upon solution this fall to repeal and replace the Budget Control Act in order to deal with our nation’s overall debt. Until such a deal is struck, we should stay within the overall funding caps of the Budget Control Act.”
 
The NASA Authorization Act of 2013 supports the continued development of the next generation of human space flight systems by investing in the Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion crew capsule. The bill directs significantly more funds for development of SLS and Exploration Ground Systems than was included in the President’s request. It also ensures efficient and effective utilization of the International Space Station, the on-schedule development of the commercial crew program, and continued delivery of supplies with the Commercial Resupply Services program.

The bill also prohibits two controversial administration proposals. It cancels the proposed reorganization of NASA education programs and prohibits the administration’s poorly defined Asteroid Retrieval Mission, which has raised concerns within the scientific community.
 
“This bill ensures sustainability of purpose and budget for high-priority programs and gives direction to NASA on future endeavors." said Space Subcommittee Chairman Steven Palazzo (R-MS) "While it is safe to say everyone on this Committee would like to see more funding for NASA, we must do the best with the hand we’ve been dealt. The good men and women who serve their country at NASA and who have devoted their lives to pushing the boundaries of human knowledge deserve no less and neither do the American people.”
 
H.R. 2687 was approved by a vote of 22 - 17.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the Senate version of the NASA authorization bill contains slightly more money, but the Administration's asteroid mission is not a sure thing in the Democratically-controlled Senate either.

FMI: House Committee Markup

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