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Casey DreierMay 2, 2015

[Updated] Good Planetary Support in A Flawed NASA Bill

Update 2015-05-05: The Planetary Society has released a full statement on H.R. 2039.

Update 2015-04-30: The House Science Committee passed the bill on a party line vote with the authorization levels unchanged. Its next step is a vote in the full House of Representaties.

The House released a draft bill the other day that would authorize NASA funding for the years 2016 and 2017 (authorizing bills generally set policy and spending limits, but do not actually provide money).

Marcia Smith at SpacePolicyOnline has a good analysis of the overall bill. But here are a few highlights: 

Obviously, the cuts to Earth Science make this a hard bill to support, therefore The Planetary Society cannot support the full bill as written at this early stage. We want an Authorization bill for NASA that can pass Congress and be signed by the White House, we hope that the committee markup will find ways to preserve and grow all science as this moves forward. 

The Planetary Science numbers, however, are very good, as is the language relating to the frequency of planetary science missions. We submitted a letter to the House Science Committee that acknowledged these important additions and support of Planetary Science. This has been seen by some as full throated support for the full bill. It is not, but we believe that good language is good language, and the planetary numbers deserve support. We hope this planetary language makes it in to the both the Senate and House versions of this bill, as well as improved support for science overall.

Read more: FY2016 NASA Budget, Planetary Society Political Advocacy

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Casey Dreier

Chief Advocate & Senior Space Policy Adviser for The Planetary Society
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