US Congress Get Balls, Votes to Secure Future of Human Race

Senate Votes to Add $1B to NASA Budget

Thursday, October 04, 2007

By ANDREW TAYLOR, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON — The Senate decided Thursday to add $1 billion to NASA’s budget as both Democrats and Republicans voted to further break President Bush’s budget for domestic programs.

The money would replenish NASA accounts tapped to make improvements to the space shuttle program in the wake of the crash of the Columbia shuttle. The space agency has tapped non-shuttle accounts such as science and other space exploration programs for about $2.7 billion for safety upgrades and other costs identified after the 2003 disaster.

“NASA is being starved,” said Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., adding that without the money, the next-generation Constellation space flight program wouldn’t be able to launch astronauts into orbit until 2015. The last shuttle flight is slated for 2010.

The funding was added to a $56 billion measure funding science programs and the departments of Commerce and Justice for the fiscal year that began Monday. The measure isn’t expected to pass until the Senate returns from a weeklong recess.

The voice vote approval of the NASA money reflected widespread support for the agency among lawmakers, including Republicans from states such as Florida, Texas and Alabama, home to large NASA facilities.

The White House had already vowed to veto the underlying spending bill because it exceeded his budget request for the agencies covered under the legislation, one of 12 spending bills funding the agency budgets that Congress passes each year.

The NASA funding was sponsored chiefly by Democrat Barbara Mikulski, whose home state of Maryland is host to the Goddard Space Flight Center.

“The agency was never fully reimbursed and was forced to make dramatic cuts to other programs,” said Mikulski.

The bill already contained $17.5 billion for NASA, a 7 percent increase over 2007 funding.

The underlying measure is popular with lawmakers in both parties for funding anti-crime programs, including restoring almost $1.5 billion that Bush sought to cut from popular grant programs for state and local police.

Bush wanted to virtually eliminate funding for Community Oriented Policing Services grants that pay for police salaries, overtime and new equipment.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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Mike Black is…

A writer, reader, commentator, music lover, art lover, futurist, tech lover, pragmatist, romantic, DepDecoist, and a bastard. Hopefully you enjoy.

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