Friday, February 10, 2012

NASA FY 2013 Budget Proposal to be Released on February 13

Aviation Week reports that NASA's proposed Fiscal Year 2013 will have only a minimum reduction from last year's adopted budget.

NASA will take only an $89 million cut in its topline spending request for fiscal 2013 compared to this year’s operating plan, sources said Friday, but the $17.711 billion NASA budget proposal due out Feb. 13 will axe the joint effort with Europe to return samples from Mars, to pay for development overruns on the James Webb Space Telescope.

Human-spaceflight budgeting continues pretty much as expected, with an $830 million request for commercial crew development (CCDev) work and only a slight drop in the $2.8 billion NASA is spending this year on its heavy-lift Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion multipurpose crew vehicle.

The SLS would get another $1.8 billion under the new request, which must clear an election-year Congress focused on deficit reduction. The exploration-vehicle figures track with last year’s budget runout for fiscal 2013, with the Orion budget tweaked downward to keep it in pace with launch vehicle work.

Space News observes:

Due on Capitol Hill Feb. 13, the $17.7 billion NASA budget proposal represents only a slight reduction from the $17.8 billion Congress approved in November for 2012. But compared to the $18.7 billion Obama penciled in for 2013 in the five-year budget he sent Congress this time last year, it represents a 5 percent cut.

Things could have been worse. According to a source familiar with the Obama administration’s internal budget deliberations, the White House Office of Management and Budget asked the agency last fall to submit budget proposals for three scenarios: a 5 percent cut, a 10 percent cut and a 15 percent cut, relative to the outyear spending plan submitted last year.

Marcia S. Smith of adds her insight:

The administration's budget request is the first step in a lengthy process to determine how much the government can spend in FY2013. The new fiscal year starts on October 1, but few expect Congress to complete action on budgets before then. Meeting that October 1 deadline is a difficult task every year and especially challenging in an election year.

The federal budget proposal out of the White House is largely meaningless, because Article I Section 7 of the United States Constitution provides that "All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives." Article I Section 9 gives Congress the power to appropriate money for spending. The President has no unilateral authority to raise revenues or to spend money.

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