Senate Does Not Agree to Further Cuts to NASA, NOAA

Senate Does Not Agree to Further Cuts to NASA, NOAA

The Senate passed the appropriations bill funding the rest of the government through September 2012 as well as another bill increasing funds for disaster aid and recovery, but did not agree to a House plan to fund the disaster aid by reducing FY2012 funds for most government agencies including NASA and NOAA.

The latter measure, called a rescission, was contained in H. Con. Res. 94 and would have meant a 1.83 percent cut to funding for agencies like NASA and NOAA from the amounts already provided for FY2012.   By a vote of 43 – 56, the resolution did not reach the required 60 vote threshold to proceed to consideration.

Rescinding funds is a common method used by Congress to meet planned budget targets or achieve other budgetary goals and can be done at any time, but for now, NASA and NOAA appear to be saved from such a cut. 

Congress was expected to adjourn for the year on Friday, but the Senate votes took place on Saturday, and the House will return to work on Monday to resolve an outstanding item of business that needs to be resolved before the end of the year — whether to continue a payroll tax cut for the middle class.   House Republicans passed a measure to continue the payroll tax cut for two months, but tied it to forcing President Obama to make a decision within 60 days on a plan to build an oil pipeline from Canada to the Gulf Coast.  The President is waiting for environmental studies before approving the proposal.

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