NASA: budget roll out by end of May but by whom?

by | Apr 14, 2009 | Seradata News | 0 comments

With an extra $1 billion care of the Obama administration’s fiscal stimulus American Recovery and Reinvestment act 2009 and fiscal year 2009 and FY2010 budgets floating around NASA had told Hyperbola it would announce this month how it is spending all the money. But now the agency is working towards something happening in May. NASA told Hyperbola:

Budget briefing is looking like “early May or late May.”  We honestly don’t know yet.  We’ve put a marker down on the calendar for May 4 AND for end of May.  We’re still in consultations with [Office of Management and Budgets] and trying to get our ducks in order for a roll out press conference.  If I were a betting man, I’d bet first full week in May.

Find all of NASA’s ARRA information on this webpage here. Under the ARRA NASA had 60-days from its signing (I am assuming its calendar and not working days) by Obama on 17 February to respond to Congress, giving a deadline of 17 April. So leaks about how the agency wants to spend the money could be expected in the next week or so

One question that comes to mind is, what hope is there that a public May budget roll out will be accompanied by a new NASA administrator candidate, I mean an official one not another victim of the rumour mill like poor Nick Lampson?

At this stage it would seem that a May budget roll out can only assume a much later administrator candidate announcement. It might seem odd if a candidate is getting grilled by Congress while the acting administrator Christopher Scolese is promoting the agency’s spending plan

And what will that spending plan look like? Back in January Hyperbola thought the agency was operating on the FY2009 budget but that turned out to be not quite true. Told back at the beginning of the year that that was the case Flight reported this and then it turned out that NASA’s budget appropriations, part of the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations act 2009, never became law, according to this website govtrack.com and this website Washingtonwatch.com. Instead this Congressional webpage shows that that act was part of the Omnibus spending bill that was passed by both Houses on 25 February

And here govtrack.com shows it to have been enacted and become law (I guess that means the president signed it) on 11 March, and a journalist’s question in this White House briefing transcript for 12 March suggests it was signed, by some one, but I couldn’t find any clear cut statement on the White House website that explicitly stated that the omnibus bill was signed into law by Obama

Anyway, contrary to some points of view, it looks like NASA has its FY2009 funding. So with a May roll out of the budget plan one wonders what use any fantastic administrator candidate can be when the next 16-months of spending has already been sown up – assuming the may public announcement talks about the FY2010 detail, the plan for the FY2009 budget and the ARRA funds allocation

The idiom putting the cart before the horse seems utterely inadequate for an organisation whose budgetary process appears to be about to set out the next 16-months of funded work before a new leadership comes in and when it is known that that new leader will conduct a review of the organisation’s “core mission”

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