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Congress passes NASA budget
Posted: Sun, Nov 21, 2004, 9:49 AM ET (1449 GMT)
NASA The House and Senate passed an omnibus budget bill Saturday that includes $16.2 billion for NASA. Both houses of Congress agreed to the bill, which had been hammered out between House and Senate negotiators for several days and completed late Friday night, with the Senate passing the bill around midnight Saturday. Earlier in the week it appeared the best NASA could hope for was $15.9 billion, $300 million less than President Bush requested but $800 million more than what the House Appropriations Committee approved in July. On Friday, though, negotiators added $300 million under pressure from House Majority Leader Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX), whose district now includes NASA's Johnson Space Center. The extra money came from slightly increasing across-the-board cuts in most other federal programs. The actual distribution of funds among NASA's programs, however, remains uncertain: the bill requires NASA to report to Congress in 60 days how much money it needs to return the shuttle to flight and begin a robotic repair mission to Hubble, giving it agency the flexibility to shift money from other programs to achieve those goals. The overall omnibus bill will be held in Congress for a few days before sending it to the President to work out a last-minute glitch with a provision in the bill unrelated to NASA.
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