Tag Archives: Senate

Senate panel proposes major NASA/NOAA budget changes

A Senate panel today proposed shifting the responsibility for building weather satellites from NOAA to NASA.

It is very unclear from this article why the Senate panel proposed this shift. They claim it will save money but I don’t see how.

What I can guess is that there is probably a turf war going on in Congress over this money. For example, shifting these weather satellites to NASA almost certainly means that the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland will get more money, which is almost certainly why Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-Maryland) is for it.

One thought however: NASA generally focuses on individual missions, not long term operational stuff like weather. I suspect it probably is not a good idea to give this work to NASA.

The same article above also outlined the panel’s proposals for other areas of NASA’s budget. To me, the key issue is the budget for commercial space. The White House requested $830 million. The Senate panel has instead proposed $525 million.
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The Senate’s tea party caucus has introduced a budget plan aimed at balancing the federal budget by 2017.

The Senate’s tea party caucus yesterday proposed a budget plan aimed at balancing the federal budget by 2017.

The news article gives a broad outline of the plan, including some basic changes to several entitlement programs, a freezing of government spending at 2008 levels, and the elimination of four government agencies and the privatization of the TSA. A detailed look will probably find that some of these proposals are poorly thought out or impractical. However, at least these senators are proposing something, unlike the Democrats, who in the Senate have not even introduced a budget for more than three years.

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Senate Democrats reject religious exemption in Obamacare.

Telling us who they really are: The Democrats in the Senate today rejected any religious exemption to anyone who does not wish to pay for someone else’s contraceptives or abortion drugs.

Personally, I have no problem with anyone who wants to use contraceptives or abortion drugs. What I and all free-thinking individuals have a problem with is the idea of the government forcing someone to pay for this, against their religious beliefs.

I guarantee that if this Obamacare requirement does not fall, people will end up choosing jail to honor their personal conscience.

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Testimony at a Senate hearing about the theft of customer funds at MF Global revealed today the Jon Corzine did know of the theft, contrary to his own testimony before Congress.

Testimony today at a Senate hearing about the MF Global scandal revealed that Jon Corzine, the former Democratic New Jersey governor and a fundraiser for President Obama, was aware of the theft of customer funds, contrary to his own testimony before Congress. More here.

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Appropriations bill promising $1 billion cut will increase spending by more than $9 billion according to one senator

A Senate appropriations bill promising a $1 billion cut will actually increase spending by more than $9 billion, according to one senator.

It just cannot be contended that this is serious work toward reducing our deficit. It just cannot be.

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Senate agrees to short term budget deal

The Senate has agreed to short term budget deal to fund the government through the end of the week.

Based on the above story, as well as this one, I am honestly not sure what these idiots have agreed to, or whether this Senate deal will pass the House as well. It does appear, however, that they are proposing spending more money that they don’t have.

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Senate approves a flat budget for the Department of Energy

The Senate has approved a flat budget for the Department of Energy.

On Wednesday the Senate Appropriations Committee approved $4.843 billion for DOE’s Office of Science in 2012. That’s the same level as this year, and a slight bump over the $4.8 billion approved in July on a largely partisan vote by the House of Representatives covering the entire department. Although the funding is a far cry from the $5.416 billion that the Obama Administration had requested in February for the next fiscal year, which begins on 1 October, officials at the Office of Science’s 10 national labs say they’re not complaining. “Even staying flat when a lot of other programs are getting cut is relatively good news,” says Thom Mason, director of Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. In budgets, “flat is the new good,” quips Eric Isaacs, director of Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois. [emphasis mine]

That a government official is now happy that the budget is flat is a good sign that we might finally be making some cultural progress in terms of bringing the federal budget under some control. In the past the very thought of no increase would have sent these people into spasms of outrage. Now they realize how pointless such a tantrum would be, and might actually do their budget negotiations harm.

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The Democrats in the Senate reject the House Republican debt ceiling plan

So what’s their plan? The Democrats in the Senate today rejected the House Republican debt ceiling plan.

Meanwhile, poll data says that the public is afraid that any deal will raise taxes too much and not cut enough.

Voters are worried more that Congress and President Obama will raise taxes too much rather than too little in any deal to end the debt ceiling debate. Just 26% fear they’ll raise taxes too little. Twelve percent (12%) aren’t sure. Similarly, 56% worry that Congress and the president will cut spending too little in the final debt ceiling deal, while only 25% are concerned that they will cut spending too much. Nineteen percent (19%) are undecided.

This quote is even more telling:

There’s a wide difference of opinion, however, between the Political Class and Mainstream voters. Fifty-nine percent (59%) of the Political Class is worried the deal will cut spending too much, while 63% of Mainstream voters fear it won’t cut spending enough. Those in the Mainstream worry more than Political Class voters by a near two-to-one margin – 70% to 37% – that the debt deal also will raise taxes too much.

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Obama budget receives zero votes in Senate

Obama’s budget request for 2012 received zero votes today when it came up for a vote in the Democratic controlled Senate. Meanwhile, the House budget, proposed by Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) was also rejected, but by the much closer vote of 40-57.

I’m not sure if this is good or bad. It suggests that there is increasing recognition in the Senate that cuts must happen, and that Obama’s budget failed in this regard. It also suggests that the Senate is also not ready to make those cuts.

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