After a debate lasting several days, the House of Representatives has passed its 2015 funding bill for Commerce, Justice and Science. NASA will receive a budget of $17.89 billion- an increase of $250 million from last year’s budget and $435 million over the President’s request. The vote was 321-87.
NASA’s Planetary Science Division is also set to receive $1.45 billion, which is around $185 million more than the President’s suggested budget. $7 million was also shifted from NASA’s Space Operations into Space Technology.
Four attempts to reduce NASA’s budget were also defeated, which were as follows:
Kildee (D-MI), reduce NASA’s Exploration account by $10 million and shift the funds to the Interagency Trade Enforcement Center: defeated by voice vote.
Kildee (D-WA), reduce NASA’s Exploration account by $15 million and shift the funds to Violent Crime Reduction Partnership Program: defeated by voice vote.
Cicilline (D-RI), reduce NASA’s Construction account by $8.5 million and shift the funds to Safe Neighborhoods Program (crime prevention): defeated 196-212.
Kilmer (D-WA), reduce NASA’s Aeronautics account by $2 million and shift the funds to Economic High Tech and Cyber Crime Prevention Program: defeated by voice vote.
These were not opposed because members disagreed with the alternative programs suggested, but because they would have cut NASA’s budget. It was also argued cutting funding to NASA’s Exploration account could have furthered the U.S.’s reliance on Russia. A proposed 1% cut across all agencies except the FBI, suggested by Rep. Marsha Blackburn, was also defeated.
Although we do not yet know the exact allocations of NASA’s budget, which are due to be released next week, we should be very pleased that NASA has received an increase in light of the current tight economic situation. This is a great result for space science!