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Nov 05 2014

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Impacts to NASA from last night’s elections

SpacePolicyOnline has a pretty good summary.

Highlights:

For space policy and programs, the biggest impact likely will be in funding. Republicans have been pressing for cutbacks in government spending to reduce the deficit, while Democrats have argued for a combination of spending cuts and tax increases. Republicans oppose tax increases.

The one must-pass piece of legislation is FY2015 appropriations. FY2015 began on October 1 and the government is operating under a Continuing Resolution that expires on December 11.

Whether a bill will pass to cover the rest of FY2015 (through September 30, 2015) or only for a few weeks or months to provide funding through the beginning of the next Congress when Republicans will have more power to shape its contents is an open question. NASA was poised to receive a significant increase over the President’s request for FY2015 in bills that passed the House and cleared the Senate Appropriations Committee on a bipartisan basis, so it is possible that the increase will survive, but if reducing the deficit becomes the driving force, it could be endangered. NOAA’s satellite programs similarly fared reasonably well in FY2015 budget action so far. A major issue in the DOD space policy and budget realm is whether to add money to begin development of a U.S. rocket engine to replace Russia’s RD-180, used for the Atlas V, which is a very complex issue and it is difficult to assess how much that will be affected by the Republican gains.

My crystal ball says that the lame duck congress will pass another CR to get FY2015 funding through…say…March, and then the new Congress will pass an appropriations bill that will cover the rest of the year.

While at least the conservative base of the Republican party is keen to reduce the size of the government, I think DoD, NOAA and NASA budgets are probably safe, and may even receive increases (especially DoD). I think deep cuts are on the horizon for other parts of the government to reduce the national debt.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2014/11/05/impacts-to-nasa-from-last-nights-elections/

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