NASA Gets $25.4 Billion for FY2023

NASA Gets $25.4 Billion for FY2023

NASA is slated to get $25.4 billion for FY2023 in the Consolidated Appropriations bill introduced at about 2:00 am ET this morning. While an increase over the $24 billion for FY2022, it is less than the $26 billion requested. Coupled with inflation and COVID-related costs, the agency will continue to be challenged in executing its broad portfolio of science, technology, aeronautics and human spaceflight programs.

House and Senate appropriators released the 4,155 page, $1.7 trillion FY2023 Consolidated Appropriations bill (H.R. 2617) in the early hours this morning, just missing a Monday deadline they’d set for themselves. The Senate is expected to take it up today with the goal of passing it tomorrow and sending it to the House where they notionally will pass it before Friday midnight when the Continuing Resolution expires.

The final compromise comes amid icy tensions within the Republican party. The top Republican on the House Appropriations Committee, Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX), declined to participate in the negotiations. She and other Republicans especially in the House, including Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), want to delay the legislation until next year when Republicans control the House and have more influence over the outcome. Her Senate counterpart, Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), however, is among the Republicans who want to complete FY2023 funding before the 117th Congress ends on January 3, 2023 so the 118th Congress can start with a clean sheet.

Shelby and the Democratic chairs of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), finalized the bill.

Leahy and Shelby are both retiring. They are expected to be succeeded in leading the committee by Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME). Granger will become chair of House Appropriations with DeLauro as Ranking Member.

McCarthy, who is hoping to become Speaker of the House, is among a group of Republicans harshly criticizing their Senate Republican colleagues for agreeing to the compromise. At the moment it appears enough Senate Republicans will vote in favor to get past the 60-vote filibuster threshold, but it’s not over ’til it’s over.

If the bill does get to the House, Democrats are still in control there, albeit by a very slim majority (218 Democrats, 213 Republicans, 4 vacancies) and it could make it to the President’s desk. The Administration supports the bill.

If the bill passes, NASA will get $25.384 billion in FY2023 compared to $24.041 billion in FY2022, an increase of $1.343 billion. That’s good news, but the Biden Administration requested $25.874 billion, so it is $590 million less than that.

Between inflation and the extra COVID-related costs due to workforce and supply chain disruptions over the past two years, it’s only a modest gain. Congress is very supportive of NASA, but it competes with many other national priorities.

The result for NASA is shown in this table from the explanatory statement accompanying the Commerce-Justice-Science section of the bill.

NASA funding in the FY2023 Consolidated Appropriations Act, H.R. 2617.


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