Earlier this week Democrats on the House Subcommittee on Space proposed legislation to increase NASA’s funding over the next three years. The bill also calls on NASA to establish a roadmap for a manned mission to Mars.
The bill introduced by the ranking member of the Space Subcommittee Donna Edwards (D-MD) proposes funding NASA at $18.10 billion in fiscal year 2014 and increasing it by 2 percent a year through fiscal year 2016 to a level of $18.87 billion.
The legislation also establishes the goal of a crewed mission to Mars and mandates that NASA develop a roadmap toward that end. In order to meet that goal, the Space Launch System and Orion multi-purpose crew vehicle would be prioritized under this budget being funded at $1.65 billion and $1.23 billion respectively. The Commercial Crew Program would also be funded at $700 million per year, significantly higher than Congress has previously authorized.
The proposal would also restore NASA’s public outreach and education programs, which were recently suspended because of the sequestration cuts required by the Budget Control Act. Planetary Science funding would be sustained at $1.5 billion annually, instead of receiving the significant cuts proposed under the Obama administration’s budget request.
Edwards’ bill is a response to the recent Republican proposal for funding NASA at $16.8 billion in fiscal year 2014. “It is my hope that we can work together with Members on both sides of the aisle to ensure that NASA’s mission is clear, expectations will inspire the public and workforce, and that the level of resources enables the agency to be successful.” Edwards added.