When it comes to funding NASA, lawmakers are lately working down to the wire. The night before the October recess, Congress passed an Authorization Act for the agency, mandating a $19 billion budget for FY2011. But legislators were unable to pass the appropriations bill needed to actually provide the funds, instead relying on a continuing resolution that froze funding at FY2010 levels and prohibited the agency from terminating programs or starting new ones. Congress must now decide how, and for how long, it intends to fund NASA before the continuing resolution expires on 3 December, reports Nature.com.
Meanwhile, the US Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee sought assurance that NASA intends to carry out the NASA Authorization Act of 2010 the president signed into law Oct. 11, despite fiscal uncertainties the agency faces in the absence of a 2011 appropriations bill, according to SpaceNews. A video report is provided by WESH-TV.
SpacePolicyOnline.com has indicated that President Obama’s deficit commission released its final report today. Entitled “The Moment of Truth,” one change from the draft released several weeks ago is that it does not call for cancelling funding for NASA’s commercial crew program. In fact, NASA is not specifically mentioned at all, though the commission does recommend significant cuts to discretionary spending of which NASA is a part.