Deficit Commission Relents on Commercial Crew

Deficit Commission Relents on Commercial Crew

President Obama’s deficit commission released its final report today. Entitled “The Moment of Truth,” one change from the draft released several weeks ago is that it does not call for cancelling funding for NASA’s commercial crew program. In fact, NASA is not specifically mentioned at all, though the commission does recommend significant cuts to discretionary spending of which NASA is a part.

Co-chaired by former Senator Alan Simpson (R-WY) and former Clinton White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles, the 18-member bipartisan commission is tasked with making recommendations to bring the budget into “primary balance” by 2015 and to “meaningfully improve the long-run fiscal outlook.” For discretionary spending, it offers “over $50 billion in immediate cuts to lead by example,” and providea “$200 billion in illustrative 2015 savings.”

“Every aspect of the discretionary budget must be scrutinized, no agency can be off limits, and no program that spends too much or achieves too little can be spared,” it says. The commission also recommends creation of a “Cut-and-Invest” committee that each year would identify 2 percent of the discretionary budget that should be cut and where half of those savings should be reinvested. Expanding research and development in “energy and other critical areas” is cited as an example of potential investments.

The commission did not vote on the report today. Under its bylaws, at least 14 of the commissioners must vote in favor of the report for it to be forwarded to Congress for consideration. A vote is currently scheduled for Friday.

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