WASHINGTON — NASA could lose $139 million in funding this year if Congress adopts a short-term spending bill introduced by the U.S. House of Representatives April 4 to keep the government operating through mid-April.
The proposal, which includes $12 billion in proposed reductions to discretionary spending in 2011 and would fund the U.S. Defense Department through the remainder of the fiscal year, would trim NASA’s space shuttle program by nearly $100 million below the 2010 appropriated level of $6.14 billion. Another $40 million cut would come from the agency’s construction and environmental compliance account, for which Congress appropriated $448 million last year.
If enacted, the temporary spending bill, H.R. 1363, would prevent a government shutdown for an additional week beyond Friday (April 8), when the current stopgap spending measure expires.
Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), who chairs the House Appropriations Committee, said House and Senate lawmakers had worked "diligently and fervently," albeit unsuccessfully, to negotiate a long-term spending plan that would fund federal agencies through Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year.
"This bill is not the preferable way to go forward, and I would greatly prefer to come to a final agreement with the Senate to put this long-overdue budget work behind us," Rogers said in an April 4 statement. "However, we must maintain critical programs and services for the American people and protect our nation’s financial future."
This article was provided by Space News, dedicated to covering all aspects of the space industry.