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House Appropriators Propose $103 Million Budget Cut for NASA
The U.S. Capitol
Credit: Office of the Clerk, U.S. Capitol

WASHINGTON — NASA’s budget would drop $103 million this year if Congress adopts spending cuts outlined Feb. 9 by the House Appropriations Committee.

NASA, like the rest of the federal government, has been operating since October under a stopgap spending measure that expires March 4. For NASA, the stopgap measure — known as a continuing resolution — has meant making do with the $18.724 billion Congress appropriated for 2010.

House appropriators intend to introduce a new continuing resolution soon that would fund the government through the end of September. Among the cuts they intend to include is a $379 million reduction to NASA’s proposed $19 billion budget for 2011. If enacted, that would leave NASA funded at $18.621 billion, or $103 million below the agency’s 2010 level.

The cuts outlined by the Republican-controlled House Appropriations Committee could have a hard time making it through the Democrat-controlled Senate. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Feb. 4 wrote President Barack Obama urging him to exempt NASA from the three-year spending freeze the president outlined last month in his State of the Union address.

“As we approach the rollout of your [fiscal year] 2012 budget request, I look forward to a plan that is consistent with the NASA Authorization Act of 2010,” Reid wrote.

The NASA Authorization Act, which Obama signed into law in October, calls for funding NASA at $19.45 billion in 2012.

Obama is due to unveil his 2012 budget proposal Feb. 14.

This article was provided by Space News, dedicated to covering all aspects of the space industry.