WASHINGTON — The House Appropriations Committee released a spending bill May 16 that adds more than $1 billion to NASA’s original request but offers little in the way of additional funding for exploration priorities included in the agency’s recent budget amendment.
The commerce, justice and science (CJS) appropriation bill, released a day before a markup session by the CJS appropriations subcommittee, provides NASA with $22.32 billion for fiscal year 2020. That is nearly $1.3 billion above NASA’s original request and $820 million more than what NASA received for fiscal year 2019.
The bill, though, largely ignores a budget amendment submitted by the White House May 13. That sought $1.6 billion in additional NASA funding for 2020, primarily to start work on lunar landers and accelerate development of the Space Launch System and Orion.
Instead, NASA’s exploration account would receive $5.13 billion, an increase of a little more than $100 million from its original 2020 request. Larger increases for Orion ($159 million), SLS ($375 million) and ground systems ($193 million) are offset by a cut of $618 million to exploration research and development, which funds development of the lunar Gateway and lunar landers.
By contrast, NASA’s science programs would get an ...