House Appropriations Committee Report Language on NASA

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Publication date: 
25 July 1995
Number: 
106

As reported in FYI #102, the House Appropriations Committee passed
the fiscal year 1996 VA/HUD/Independent Agencies appropriations
bill on July 18.  In doing so, the appropriations committee made
some significant changes to the NASA portion of the bill, including
restoring funds for the Cassini mission to Saturn and the Goddard,
Langley, and Marshall Space Flight Centers.  Report language
accompanying the full committee's bill provides further information
on the committee's recommendations.  Portions of the report
relating to NASA's Earth and space science and the downsizing of
the space agency are quoted below:

SPACE SCIENCE:  "The Committee recommends $1,975,400,000 for fiscal
year 1996, an increase of $16,500,000 to the budget request of
$1,958,900,000.  The funding adjustments within this account are as
follows: No funding is provided for the Space Infrared Telescope
Facility, a reduction of $15,000,000 from the budget request.
Funding for the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy
(SOFIA) is set at $28,700,000, a reduction of $20,000,000 from the
budget request.  Finally, the Committee has included $51,500,000
for the Gravity Probe B program to ensure its schedule remains
intact as recommended by the National Academy of Sciences in their
report on the project."

MISSION TO PLANET EARTH:  "The Committee recommends a reduction of
$338,600,000 from the fiscal year 1996 budget request of
$1,341,100,000.  The reduction includes $6,000,000 to be taken from
the Consortium for International Earth Science Network, which will
terminate NASA support for this project.  In addition $332,600,000
in other funding reductions are directed.  The Administrator of
NASA is directed to provide a restructured program to the Committee
by August 31, 1995."

NASA DOWNSIZING:  "On May 17, 1995 the National Aeronautics and
Space Administration announced the results of its Zero-Base
Assessment of operations.  The conclusions announced at that time
were the result of an extensive review effort which had begun in
November of 1994 and gained added urgency when NASA's long term
budget was reduced approximately $5 billion by the President in
January of 1995.

"Six basic principles guided the review team as they did their
work.  Those basic principles were: 1.) No NASA Centers are to be
closed; 2.) Avoid major program impacts; 3.) Establish meaningful
missions and roles for each Center; 4.) Retain core competency of
the workforce; 5.) Pursue immediate efficiency and re-structuring
saving; and 6.) Strive for outsourcing, privatization, and
commercialization.

"The Committee believes the plan which resulted from the Zero-Base
Assessment is credible and will achieve $5 billion in savings
beginning in fiscal year 1997.  However, events which have
transpired since January and which were not considered by the
Zero-Base Assessment team cause the Committee to be concerned that
the long term budget target, which is much lower than that
considered by the management team, can only be achieved by
revisiting the first two principles.  Namely, serious action must
be taken to reduce infrastructure through re-structuring of NASA
Centers, and major programs will need to be altered or canceled.

"The Committee has therefore included language in the Bill which
directs NASA to complete a study by March 31, 1996 on the cost of
performing functions at current Space Flight Centers and Research
Centers and logical alternative locations, with a goal of achieving
significant cost savings through consolidation or re-structuring."

House leaders hope to bring three appropriations bills, including
the VA/HUD bill, to the floor before the end of this week.

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