Could NASA warm up to a budget freeze?

Both ABC News and MSNBC are reporting that in his State of the Union speech tonight, President Obama will call for a five-year freeze for non-security discretionary spending. There will be, according to ABC, some exceptions for new initiatives in areas such as innovation, education, and infrastructure, but it would appear that, by and large, agencies like NASA included in that non-security discretionary slice of the budget will be looking at flat budgets for the foreseeable future.

If NASA is, in fact, facing a long-term budget freeze (whether at the enacted FY2010 or the proposed FY2011 level is unclear, although it makes little difference at the topline level), it would be a setback for an agency that last year was projected to see modest but steady increases, to nearly $21 billion for FY2015. On the other hand, though, a budget freeze at current levels might not be so bad compared to proposals to cut overall federal spending to FY2008, or, as proposed last week, FY2006 levels.


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