Ryan Budget Would Cut More From NASA, NOAA Budget Functions

Ryan Budget Would Cut More From NASA, NOAA Budget Functions

A Washington Post analysis of Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) FY2013 budget plan released yesterday shows that the part of the budget that includes NASA would be cut six percent more than the budget proposed by President Obama over the next 10 years.  Significant cuts to the part of the budget that includes NOAA also are proposed.  Overall, the Ryan plan protects defense spending, but makes deeper cuts overall to the federal budget than what was agreed to last year in the Budget Control Act.

Ryan is chairman of the House Budget Committee and released his budget plan yesterday as a “chairman’s mark.”  A table at the end of the chairman’s mark lays out the proposed budget levels by year through 2022 for the approximately 20 budget functions into which government activities are grouped by the congressional budget committees and the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB). 

The Washington Post analysis compared the numbers in the Ryan plan with those published in OMB’s comparable table from the President’s FY2013 budget request.

Because the budget functions are broad, it is not possible to determine how much would eventually be allocated to any specific agency or activity — that would be determined through appropriations action each year — but the numbers do provide a cap for those budget functions and indicate relative priorities.

All of NASA’s activities except aeronautics are in function 250 — General Science, Space and Technology.  That category also includes the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy’s science programs.  For FY2013, the Ryan plan calls for allocating $28 billion, down from $29.1 billion in FY2012.  The Obama budget calls for $29.5 billion in FY2013.  Over the 10-year period, the Washington Post says the total for function 250 is six percent less in the Ryan budget.

NASA’s aeronautics programs are in function 400, Transportation, which is slated for an even steeper cut over the 10-year period, 25 percent, under the Ryan plan according to the Washington Post’s analysis.

NOAA’s programs are in function 300, Natural Resources and Environment, along with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and a range of conservation and natural resources programs.  In the near term, function 300 would be 14.6 percent lower in 2014 in the Ryan budget according to the Washington Post.  It quotes David Kendall of The Third Way as warning about the potential impact on weather forecasting:  “‘Our weather forecasts would be only half as accurate for four to eight years until another polar satellite is launched,’ estimates Kendall. ‘For many people planning a weekend outdoors, they may have to wait until Thursday for a forecast as accurate as one they now get on Monday. … Perhaps most affected would be hurricane response. Governors and mayors would have to order evacuations for areas twice as large or wait twice as long for an accurate forecast.'”

The House is expected to pass the Ryan plan next week.   Senate Democrats are insisting that Republicans stick to the plan that was enacted into law last year in the Budget Control Act.  That set $1.047 trillion as the total federal budget for FY2013.  The Ryan budget lowers that to $1.028 trillion.



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