Congress will provide NASA with nearly $23.3 billion in the final fiscal year 2021 omnibus spending bill, restoring several science programs but falling far short of the funding sought for a lunar lander program.
Vice President Mike Pence said in a Feb. 19 speech that the administration’s budget proposal for NASA to support a human return to the moon by 2024 has bipartisan support, a claim echoed by NASA despite criticism about some proposed cuts in the bill.
NASA’s fiscal year 2021 budget request proposes cancelling an airborne observatory, a move that has surprised many astronomers but is also not the first time the project has faced termination.
NASA’s fiscal year 2021 budget proposal has gotten a mixed reception on Capitol Hill and elsewhere, with many supporting increased funding for exploration efforts but criticizing another attempt to cut science and education programs.
The White House is proposing to increase NASA’s budget by more than two and a half billion dollars in fiscal year 2021, providing substantially increased funding for the Artemis program while seeking once again to cancel several science and education programs.
NASA, or at least the White House, is showing growing impatience with the delays and cost growth in some of its biggest missions. That theme is clear in the proposals to rein in the Space Launch System, but also in its approach to science program.
An appropriation bill signed into law Feb. 15 gives NASA $21.5 billion for fiscal year 2019, $1.6 billion above the administration’s original request.
A spending bill to be marked up by the House Appropriations Committee would provide some funding for a NASA space telescope proposed for cancellation, but not necessarily enough to keep the mission on schedule.
A final fiscal year 2018 spending bill released by House and Senate appropriators March 21 would give NASA more than $20.7 billion, far above the administration’s original request.
Members of the House space subcommittee raised concerns about elements of NASA's fiscal year 2019 budget proposal during a March 7 hearing, from the cancellation of a space telescope to restructuring of the agency's technology programs.
President Donald J. Trump’s proposed 2018/2019 NASA budget represents a slight overall increase in funding while aiming to close out a handful of programs and projects. While the uptick is welcome, program cuts can still have consequences and may undercut job creation, research and even private sector business development.