The Planetary Society Stands Against the Sequester, Encourages a 2013 Omnibus Bill

An omnibus will help restore some funding to NASA's Planetary Science Division

For Immediate Release
March 05, 2013

Casey Dreier
Email: [email protected]
Phone: +1-626-793-5100

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."

About The Planetary Society

The Planetary Society has inspired millions of people to explore other worlds and seek other life. With the mission to empower the world's citizens to advance space science and exploration, its international membership makes the non-governmental Planetary Society the largest space interest group in the world. Carl Sagan, Bruce Murray and Louis Friedman founded The Planetary Society in 1980. Bill Nye, a longtime member of The Planetary Society's Board, serves as CEO.