Mikulski Seeks Summit With White House On NASA Fiscal Future
With the American space program facing tight budgetary times, a key senator called for a bipartisan summit meeting with the White House on the future of NASA.
Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.), deplored funding shortages in the space program, noting that NASA receives well less than one hundredth of the federal budget.
Mikulski spoke to a witness before her panel, NASA Administrator Michael Griffin, who was answering questions on the NASA budget proposal for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2008.
Mikulski succeeded Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) as chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee commerce, justice, science and related agencies subcommittee, and Shelby — now the ranking Republican on the panel — also noted that NASA faces budget difficulties.
“I think we do need some kind of summit with Dr. Griffin and others,” Shelby said.
One problem is that for the current fiscal 2007, Congress failed to pass a measure that would have provided needed increased funds to the space agency, so NASA instead wound up with funding frozen at old levels, creating shortfalls for programs. (Please see full story in this issue.)