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The bill provides nearly $780 million more for NASA than the administration’s request, including an increase of more than $615 million for exploration programs, such as the Space Launch System and Orion. “We made sure the Space Launch System is fully funded, and that astronauts will have the ability to go beyond low Earth orbit in the Orion crew vehicle,” Culberson said.
The bill restores funding for NASA’s Office of Education, which was slated to be closed in the budget proposal. The bill provides $90 million for the office, including funds for two programs in that office, Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) and National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program, that would have been shut down.
It appears that Republicans, like Democrats, have no interest in gaining any control over its out-of-control spending. The Trump budget was a very reasonable document, and would have done no harm to NASA’s overall mission, and in many ways would have helped focus it. Congress however can’t stop spending, no matter who the voters put in power.
The only area where Republicans seem willing to fight for cuts is in NASA’s climate budget. With both the House and the Senate bills, the Republicans supported most of these cuts, though not all.
Overall, this whole process, and the contempt Congress and Washington has for the American people, was best demonstrated by this quote from Senator Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia):
“I’m not sure the private sector is going to step in with so much left undone.”
In other words, private enterprise can’t do it! We need big government, routinely over budget and behind schedule, to make it happen!