NASA's Budget Increase Is A Step Closer to Reality
The House of Representatives passes the 2015 "CRomnibus" spending bill
Update 2014-12-16: The Senate passed the bill and the President signed it into law.
Whew, that was a close one.
NASA is now one step closer to having a budget for fiscal year 2015. By a vote of 219 - 206, the U.S. House of Representatives narrowly passed the Senate Ammendment to H.R. 83, a massive spending bill that funds nearly the entire U.S. government for 2015. The so-called "CRomnibus" was a big bill with lots of controversial policy language, but it did include an important increase in funding for NASA and its Planetary Science Division, which The Planetary Society supported. You can read more details about the specific NASA increases in an earlier post.
The vote occurred just hours before the government's current spending authorization expired. Passage was not assured; significant factions of Democrats and Republicans refused to back the bill, requiring a rare coalition of more moderate members of both parties to reach a majority. As you would expect, NASA was not a major point of debate during the run-up to the vote.
After the main vote, the House then passed a separate, 48-hour extension of the current budget which was quickly passed by the Senate and signed by the President. This buys time for the Senate to take up and debate the actual CRomnibus bill. Passage seems likely—but not guaranteed. We'll know more by Saturday.