Both the Senate and House are chopping at the NASA budget, but the House cuts more, doesn’t fund JWST, and spends less for commercial crew.
The Senate voted Tuesday to give NASA $17.9 billion in fiscal 2012, significantly more than the agency would get from the House.
Both chambers are far apart on two key initiatives. One is the James Webb Telescope, the successor to the Hubble Telescope. The other is a commercial crew program in which NASA and private rocket companies are working together to develop a replacement for the space shuttle.
The Senate bill includes $500 million for the program, compared to $312 million in the House measure. The James Webb telescope, which would get $530 million from the Senate, would get nothing under the House bill…
More from Spacepolicyonline (yesterday)-
This afternoon the Senate passed the “minibus” appropriations bill (H.R. 2112) that combines three of the regular appropriations bills into one, including funding for NASA, NOAA and the FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation (AST).
The Commerce-Justice-Science (CJS) bill includes NASA and NOAA. The Transportation-Housing and Urban Development (T-HUD) includes AST. The third bill in the package is Agriculture.
The vote was 69-30.
The bill now goes to the House where its future is unclear. The most recent reports indicate that the House will, in fact, accede to the Senate’s approach to the appropriations bills for FY2012, dealing with them in groups instead of combining all 12 into a single “omnibus” package. Omnibus bills have become common in recent years and initially it appeared the House preferred that method.
The House and Senate appropriations committees were fairly far apart in their recommendations for NASA. The House committee approved $16.8 billion, and, among other things, recommended terminating the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) program. The Senate approved $17.9 billion and recommended increasing JWST funding by $156 million so it could be launched in 2018 instead of years later. The President’s request for NASA was $18.7 billion, of which $374 million was for JWST…