Budget Games Continue

Budget Games Continue

With a government shutdown right around the corner if Republicans and Democrats can’t agree on some sort of funding measure, both parties are blaming the other and continuing the high-stakes game.

The current Continuing Resolution (CR) expires at midnight on Friday. If Congress does not pass some sort of appropriations bill before then, major portions of the government will have to stop work. Both sides say that is no way to run a government, but each is playing hardball.

At this moment, it appears that only $7 billion in cuts separate the two camps from agreeing on a new CR that would fund the government for the rest of FY2011. The Republicans want to cut $40 billion from current FY2010 spending levels (or $80 billion from the FY2011 request), while the Democrats want to cut $33 billion (or $73 billion from the FY2011 request). Exactly what would be cut has not yet been determined. They are just trying to agree on the total budget figure at this point.

Another meeting is planned at the White House tonight with the President, Vice President, and congressional negotiators. Previous meetings with and without the White House participating have not been successful in reaching closure.

Meanwhile, the Republicans are offering another short-term CR that would fund the Pentagon for the rest of FY2011, but all other government agencies for only one more week in exchange for Democrats agreeing to $12 billion more in cuts to the FY2010 spending level. Two previous short-term CR’s have cut a total of $10 billion already.

In the new short-term CR, NASA’s Space Operations account would be cut by $99 million, and the Construction and Environmental Compliance & Remediation account by $40 million. It does not remove the language that prevents NASA from cancelling the Constellation program, but does remove language specifying how much of the money provided for Space Operations can be spent on each of the three elements of that account (space shuttle, International Space Station, and Space and Flight Support), giving NASA more flexibility in how to spend the total for that account.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has signaled that the Senate would not pass such a bill, but the latest reports are that the House will pass it tomorrow anyway so House Republicans then can blame Senate Democrats if the government shuts down at midnight Friday.

User Comments

SpacePolicyOnline.com has the right (but not the obligation) to monitor the comments and to remove any materials it deems inappropriate.  We do not post comments that include links to other websites since we have no control over that content nor can we verify the security of such links.