Federal Budget Day
President Bush sent the Administration's proposed Fiscal Year (FY) 2008 federal budget request to Congress today. Highlights include $145 billion for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and projecting a balanced budget by FY 2012 while making tax cuts permanent. Needless to say, there is much debate about all of these provisions.
The FY 2008 request for NASA is $17.3 billion, a modest increase over last year's request, but a more significant increase over the FY 2007 level as it stands currently in the House, at $16.2 billion. That spending measure would have a serious impact on NASA programs, especially the development of the exploration vehicles planned to replace the Space Shuttle. Of course the congressional budget appropriation process is rather arcane, and the situation may be improved later in the year, but in the mean time this situation does complicate program planning. Here is Space.com's report.
Space organizations are weighing in on the budget issue. The Space Foundation says that even the Bush Administration request shortchanges the exploration effort, while the Space Frontier Foundation sees an opportunity in the proposed congressional cutbacks.