Will the House Make Trump’s Lunar Program a Partisan Issue?
May 17, 2019 (EIRNS)—The House Appropriations subcommittee responsible for allocating funds for NASA was scheduled to mark up NASA’s FY 20 budget today, space media report, with an increase to $22.32 billion, which is $820 million more than NASA received for FY19. However, virtually none of the increase is for the $1.6 billion add-on funding for the Artemis Moon mission NASA requested. The bill increases NASA’s exploration account by only $100 million and restores the funding for the Pell education grants that the Office of Management and Budget had cut to pay for the Moon program.
Unfortunately, the Moon program is being opposed by many Democratic members, as part of a partisan fight, not on its merits. The argument has been raised that the members have to know what the whole five-year program will cost before they sign on to an increase for next year. Such a number would be a guess, at best.
The Republican-controlled Senate appropriators may go along with the NASA request, although there is also some Republican opposition to the program. If so, a compromise will have to be worked out between the two Houses, potentially crippling the ability to meet the President’s timetable.