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Press Releases :: May 19, 2009

Committee Examines NASA Budget Request

(Washington, DC) — Today, the House Committee on Science and Technology held the first congressional hearing on NASA’s Fiscal Year 2010 Budget Request since the release of the president’s detailed budget plan on May 7th.  NASA’s proposed budget for FY10 is $18.7 billion, an increase of 5.1% over the enacted FY 09 appropriation for NASA. The proposed budget plan for NASA beyond FY 10 is essentially flat funding through FY 13.  In addition, The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act [P.L. 111-5] included $1 billion for NASA’s Earth science, aeronautics exploration programs, cross-agency support, and Inspector General.  Recovery Act funds are to be expended by September 30, 2010.  The Committee heard testimony from NASA’s Acting Administrator, Christopher Scolese at today’s hearing.   

“The Administration’s budget is a welcome recognition that NASA is relevant to addressing the nation’s societal needs and is an important contributor to our scientific and technical competitiveness,” said Chairman Bart Gordon (D-TN). “However, more needs to be done if the positive steps taken by this Administration are going to be sustained.  While I hope and expect that the Human Space Flight Review that is going to be conducted under the very able leadership of Norm Augustine will help clarify what is needed to keep that important initiative on track, I think the basic situation is already clear.  Either the nation is going to have to give NASA enough funding to meet the dual challenges of carrying out its current and planned missions and of revitalizing the agency’s human and physical capital…Or, the nation is going to have to agree on what it wants NASA to cut.” 

The president’s request for FY 10 provides funding for the full array of NASA’s activities, including space and Earth science, aeronautics, exploration, the Space Shuttle program, the International Space Station (ISS) program, launch services, space communications, education; institutional investments, and the NASA inspector general.   FY 10 will be a critical year for the agency as it completes the assembly of the ISS, begins the transition away from the Space Shuttle program and continues development of the follow-on human space transportation system that will return Americans to the Moon and support other missions beyond low Earth orbit.  

“As the overwhelming bipartisan support for the NASA Authorization Act of 2008 demonstrated, Congress believes that NASA is an important contributor to America’s future wellbeing, and worthy of our increased investment in it,” said Gordon.  “At the same time, I don’t view investing in NASA as a blank check—this Committee is going to be vigilant in seeking to ensure that NASA is a good steward of taxpayer dollars.  Indeed, the first hearing of Chairwoman Giffords’ Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee earlier this year was on NASA’s cost management practices, and I have no doubt the Committee will continue our oversight of those issues in the months ahead.” 

For more information, please see the Committee’s website.





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