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NASA Internal Memo: Preliminary Assessment - Implications of Full-Year FY 2007 Continuing Appropriation for NASA

Status Report From: NASA HQ
Posted: Thursday, December 21, 2006

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12/20/06

On December 11, 2006, Senator Robert C. Byrd (D-WV) and Congressman David Obey (D-WI), who will lead the Senate and House Committees on Appropriations in the new Congress, announced their intent to pass a year-long joint resolution to complete the FY 2007 appropriations process, with no earmarks.

NASA has been informed by Committee staff that the assumption for the full-year FY 2007 joint resolution is expected to be the "current rate," defined as FY 2006 enacted levels, minus FY 2006 emergency supplemental appropriations. Committee staff have indicated that they will consider some exceptions to this formula.

For NASA, the "current rate," as defined by Committee staff above, would be $16.273B, or a reduction of approximately $520M from the President's FY 2007 request. This would impact NASA in several ways:

  • The majority of this shortfall from the President's FY 2007 request would impact the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate, which is in the midst of a planned ramp-up in spending for the Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) and Crew Launch Vehicle (CLV), leading to first CLV flight test in 2009 and first human launch for the CEV in 2014.
  • The Exploration multi-year budget plan, which depends upon planned carryover of unobligated Exploration balances for future year budget requirements, would be directly impacted, which could cause a widening of the current 4-year gap between the final flight of the Space Shuttle and the first flight of the CEV.
  • Projected investments in the Lunar Robotic Precursor Program and Advanced Technology Development would be threatened.
  • NASA expects to adjust priorities within the Science, Aeronautics and Exploration appropriations account to manage the impact.

NASA is evaluating implications of the "current rate" as defined by Committee staff, as outlined above, versus other potential formulae, such as "current rate" as defined in OMB guidance, and/or the formula included in the current FY 2007 Continuing Resolution to determine whether alternative scenarios would result in less severe impacts to ongoing programs.

NASA is also evaluating the respective funding levels for the Science, Aeronautics and Exploration appropriations account and the Exploration Capabilities appropriations account under these various scenarios, and may seek circumscribed programmatic transfer authority to address imbalances.

NASA will also seek to incorporate into the joint resolution Katrina transfer authority, which would permit the Agency to transfer available emergency supplemental funds to repay the remaining $40M in funds borrowed from the Space Shuttle and International Space Station programs for immediate Katrina needs.

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