The Planetary Society joins the chorus of voices denouncing the implementation of the Sequester, the automatic, across-the-board budget cuts to almost all federal programs. We strongly encourage Congress replace the sequester and pass an omnibus spending bill for the remainder of 2013.
"Like everyone else, we are very disappointed that Congress was unable to avoid the sequester," said Bill Nye, Planetary Society CEO. "Nevertheless, despite the serious economic challenges the nation faces, a strong space program remains vital to our future scientifically, economically, and culturally. We must continue to look upward, even during difficult times."
The Sequester implements cuts indiscriminately and outside of the normal budgeting process. This causes havoc within federal agencies that need to carefully manage complex, multi-year programs, like most of the major projects at NASA.
NASA’s Science Mission Directorate will have reduced funding for crucial research and analysis programs that support current and future scientists. This needlessly damages our long-term scientific capability in the United States.
Passage of a 2013 omnibus spending bill, which would fund the government for the remaining six months of the year, would be a step towards rectifying this problem. This would replace the "continuing resolution" that funds the federal government at 2012 levels. Without an omnibus bill, further continuing resolutions leave many agencies without proper guidance from Congress on funding priorities. This resulted in NASA’s Planetary Science Division suffering the full 21% cut to its funding due to limitations imposed by the Office of Management and Budget.
"We strongly urge Congress to complete its work quickly on an FY13 omnibus appropriations bill that restores some funding for NASA’s Planetary Science program and ensures that the U.S. will continue to reach deeper into space," said Bill Nye. "This will continue the tradition of innovation inherent in space exploration."