Thursday, June 20, 2013

House bill threatens $1 billion in NASA funding cuts

House bill threatens $1 billion in NASA funding cuts

The proposed $16.8 billion funding package would focus NASA’s long-term efforts on Mars exploration, set pre-determined milestones for development of commercial manned spacecraft — including a non-negotiable deadline for first flight — and sharply cut funding for Earth sciences.

“This authorization bill reflects a sincere effort to maximize return to the taxpayer while working to protect America’s role as the world leader in space exploration,” Rep. Steven Palazzo, R-Miss., chairman of the Subcommittee on Space, said in opening remarks.

“It is realistic and reflective of the hard choices we must make as a nation and provides support for agreed-upon priorities. The stark reality is that if we fail to reform mandatory spending, discretionary funding for space, science and research will continue to shrink.”

He said the proposed “authorization discussion draft” was consistent with the 2011 Budget Control Act, mandating automatic spending cuts — sequestration — in the absence of legislation to trim $1.2 trillion from the federal deficit.