Friday, June 5, 2009

House Appropriations subcommittee slashes Obama's NASA exploration request

Mark Matthews
The Write Stuff
Orlando Sentinel

The House panel that oversees NASA’s budget recommended this week that the space agency receive $18.2 billion in funding next year -- chopping about $500 million from President Barack Obama’s request of nearly $18.7 billion.

Most of the cuts were aimed at NASA’s human spaceflight program. Obama wanted to give NASA’s exploration division – which is developing a replacement to the space shuttle – a budget of nearly $4 billion, but that was reduced to about $3.3 billion under the alternative pushed by the House Appropriations Subcommittee of Commerce, Justice and Science. It's also $212 million less than what the division received this year.

The agency’s science budget saw a slight increase, however, as the panel opted to fund that division at $4.496 billion, rather than $4.477 billion. To become law, the budget must pass Congress and be signed by the president, a process that should take months to complete.

So why did the CJS subcommittee reduce the exploration budget? The panel’s chairman, U.S. Rep. Alan Mollohan, D-West Virginia, said he didn’t want spend extra dollars on NASA’s newest rocket until he hears the results of a blue ribbon panel tasked with deciding how NASA should replace the shuttle.

Read the Article HERE.
Mollohan's Statement HERE, June 4

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