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The increase to the NASA budget goes mostly to SLS and the planetary program. Congress also decided this year to fully fund the administration’s budget request for the commercial space budget, the first time this has happened since the program began back in 2006.
Though the increase to the planetary program as well as the funding to commercial space is good news, the fact that the Republican leadership in Congress agreed to increase spending at NASA illustrates everything that is wrong with Washington. These Republicans leaders promised they would bring fiscal common sense to Washington, cutting the budget to bring the deficit under control. You don’t do that by funding everything.
SLS/Orion is a waste of money. It will accomplish little if nothing, as it is so expensive that we can’t afford to finance any actual missions using it. It should be eliminated entirely. Instead, these guys raise its budget 68%. If they were serious about cutting the budget, they would have recognized the inefficiency and impracticality of SLS/Orion and cut it, allowing them to fund the programs at NASA that are working (science and commercial space) while simultaneously reducing the budget.
Sadly, they are not yet serious about regaining control of the budget. The public has been screaming for this to happen, and their failure to do as the public wants is a further explanation for the success in this election cycle of outsiders like Trump, Cruz, and Carson.