UPDATE 3: Senate Approps Committee Marks Up NASA, NOAA FY2012 Approps Bill

UPDATE 3: Senate Approps Committee Marks Up NASA, NOAA FY2012 Approps Bill

UPDATE 3: The full committee approved the bill (along with three others they had under consideration today). As far as we can tell no amendments were adopted. Details have not yet been released.

UPDATE 2: Additional details of the subcommittee action were added in update 1. This update adds Info from a Mikulski press release and the audio of the markup. FULL COMMITTEE MARKUP IS AT 2:00 TODAY (THURSDAY).

The Senate Appropriations Commerce-Justice-Science (CJS) subcommittee marked up its version of the FY2012 appropriations bill that includes NASA and NOAA today. The full committee will mark it up tomorrow at 2:00.

A summary of the subcommittee’s action is posted on the committee’s website.

The Senate subcommittee recommended $17.9 billion for NASA, $509 million less than what the agency received in FY2011, but $1.1 billion more than what the House Appropriations Committee recommended ($16.8 billion). The committee’s statement says that it provides enough funds to launch the James Webb Space Telescope in 2018. Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) chairs the subcommittee. A press release from her offices clarifies that the amount included in the subcommittee’s recommendation for JWST in FY2012 is $530 million out of a total of $5.1 billion for the NASA’s science programs. NASA’s request for JWST was $374 million and for the Science Mission Directorate (SMD) was $5 billion. The House Appropriations Committee recommended terminating the JWST program and provided no funds for FY2012. It recommended $4.5 billion for SMD overall.

For NOAA, the Senate subcommittee recommended $5 billion, $434 million more than FY2011, including $920 million for the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS). That is similar to what the House Appropriations Committee approved for JPSS ($901 million), and still less than the request of $1.07 billion.

The audio of the subcommittee markup is available on the committee’s website. Senator Mikulski states during the markup that they have included “stringent bill language limiting the development costs” of JWST.

Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), ranking member of the subcommittee, did not specify in her remarks the dollar amounts in the bill for the Space Launch System and Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle other than saying they are at the authorized levels in the 2010 NASA Authorization Act. She added that the bill also funds the “commercial vehicle that will be the interim” capability to get to the International Space Station.

The bill will be marked up at full committee level on Thursday, September 15, at 2:00 pm EDT.

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