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Casey DreierJune 15, 2018

NASA's 2019 Budget Takes Shape

The derivative is positive, but the second derivative turns negative

In a surprising display of timeliness, the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives have both now released their funding bills for NASA in fiscal year 2019. The two bills are broadly consistent in their repudiation of cuts and reorganizations of major NASA programs, support for the Administration's lunar ambitions, and generous top lines for NASA's budget.

However, there are significant differences, and those differences will be the point of negotiations that will now begin between the two committees. It is very likely that there will be no votes on a final bill until November or December, after the election.

Below is a table comparing proposed funding levels of some programs and directorates between last year's final budget, the President's Budget Request, and the House and Senate bills.

 20182019 PBR2019 House2019 Senate
NASA $20,736 $19,892 $21,546 $21,323
Science $6,222 $5,895 $6,681 $6,400
WFIRST $150 $0 $150 $352
Planetary Science $2,228 $2,235 $2,759 $2,201
Earth Science $1,921 $1,784 $1,900 $1,931
Astrophysics $1,352 $1,185 $1,334 $1548
Heliophysics $689 $691 $691 $720
(incl. SLS, Orion, Ground Systems)
$4790 $4744 $5,083.9 $5,339
Education $100 $0 $90 $110

All numbers are in millions of dollars.

The Good

FY2019 PBR, Senate, House NASA Budget

Casey Dreier

FY2019 PBR, Senate, House NASA Budget
NASA's FY2019 budget situation in a snapshot. Historical funding for NASA is included as both what Congress ultimately provided contrasted with the President's Budget Request. Not adjusted for inflation.

The Bad

The Ugly

The full Senate and House are preparing to vote on a number of appropriations bills (beyond the CJS bill, which includes NASA) this Summer. Politicking could sideline these votes, but eventually the Congress needs to approve appropriations legislation or the government will shut down. The Fall elections will slow down legislating, and there is a good chance that we will see a stopgap continuing resolution bill passed beforehand to keep the government operating until the end of the year.

In the meantime, The Planetary Society has an updated message for you to send to Congress that supports the House's proposed increase for the Planetary Science Division. We of course will be working to support our priorities, including planetary exploration, planetary defense, and the search for life, during the extended period of negotiations coming our way.


Read more: Space Policy, FY2019 NASA Budget

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Casey Dreier

Chief Advocate & Senior Space Policy Adviser for The Planetary Society
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