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House Representatives Working On NASA Reform Bill

Unknown Lamer posted about a year and a half ago | from the free-bags-of-pork-rinds-to-all-texans dept.

NASA 188

MarkWhittington writes with good and bad news about NASA's future budgets. From the article: "Rep. John Culberson, along with Rep. Frank Wolf, are developing a bill that will attempt to rationalize NASA's budget process and provide some long term continuity in its administration. First, a NASA administrator would be named to a ten year term. The intent is to provide some continuity in the way the space agency is run and to remove it, as much as possible, from the vagaries of politics. Second, NASA funding would be placed on a multi-year rather than annual cycle. This is of particular importance to the space agency because the majority of its high level projects take several years to run their course. If funding were fixed for a number of years, the theory goes, money could be spent more efficiently. NASA planners would know how much they have to spend four or so years going forward and would not have to worry about being cut off at the knees by Congressional appropriators year after year." But is it more than political grandstanding in an election year? There might be a few problems: NASA could get stuck with a bad administrator, multi-year budgets might be a bit unconstitutional, etc.

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188 comments

Unconstitutional? (4, Insightful)

radiumsoup (741987) | about a year and a half ago | (#40982959)

If we can go 3 years with no Federal budget whatsoever and count it as "constitutional", I'm pretty sure we can finagle a multi-year budget or two.

Re:Unconstitutional? (2)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about a year and a half ago | (#40983049)

It's really not so much Constitutionality as stability. Congresses don't like explicitly binding follow-on Congresses with financial obligations. (The implicit crushing force of the national debt, well, let's gaff that off like the rest, shall we?)
One Congress giveth, and another taketh away. And when you're a company trying to do 7 and 8 figure work, you can't have that.
Which is why McNamara's Nightmare [wikipedia.org] makes the DoD budget into such a Stephen King novel. The rules under which Congress will allocate multi-year funds, e.g. for a nuclear aircraft carrier, are painful.

Re:Unconstitutional? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40983157)

You need an approprations law to spend federal moneies but there is no requirement constitionaly for a budget.

Re:Unconstitutional? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40983249)

Yep. Most of the current Federal budget hoo-haw is hysteria manufactured for political purposes. It was never an issue in the past. It just got politicized recently. Another kind of scare mongering in the absence of other tools.

Re:Unconstitutional? (1)

sycodon (149926) | about a year and a half ago | (#40983379)

It's never been an issue in the past because Congress did their fucking jobs and produced a budget.

Re:Unconstitutional? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40983403)

Look, let's not mince words here. We all know that it's the fault of $PARTY_I_DON'T_LIKE. The $PARTY_I_LIKE are trying their best but their opposition refuses to compromise.

Re:Unconstitutional? (1)

Curunir_wolf (588405) | about a year and a half ago | (#40983483)

Look, let's not mince words here. We all know that it's the fault of $PARTY_I_DON'T_LIKE. The $PARTY_I_LIKE are trying their best but their opposition refuses to compromise.

But Congress IS the party I don't like. It's made up entirely of DandR insiders.

Re:Unconstitutional? (3, Funny)

Bigby (659157) | about a year and a half ago | (#40984183)

Look, let's not mince words here. We all know that it's the fault of Democrats & Republicans. The People are trying their best but their opposition refuses to compromise.

Expanded the variables for ya...

Re:Unconstitutional? (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about a year and a half ago | (#40983567)

Rarely 'balanced', however, and never by means that would've been kosher accounting in any proper business.

Re:Unconstitutional? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40983595)

The government is not a business, and attempts to run it as if it were a business are misguided.

Re:Unconstitutional? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40983881)

But taking advantage of proven business processes would be a step in the right direction.

Government agencies should focus on their core reasons for being and outsource all other functions, maybe to private sector, maybe to another agency. Why do so many agencies need their own SWAT teams? Why can't they request this resource when needed from another agency or have a pool of SWAT available to any agency as needed?

Re:Unconstitutional? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40984427)

WRONG!
Goverment is a business, their goal however is not the utmost profit in cash anymore as they monopolized money ages ago. They can print however much they want, if printing is not sufficient take a huge loan, and loan/give that money back to the original lender via multiple proxies, rinse and repeat (fractional reserve system). If anyone dares to ask for repayment, they just loan from another party to pay back the earlier party (ponzi scheme).

Now their primary goal is different, in the case of US the primary goals are something like: Conquering foreign territories with precious resources, controlling population (orwellian), entrenching the power of the elite

Same problem w/ the CIA (1)

Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) | about a year and a half ago | (#40983637)

The CIA has had the same problem, actually--I have heard complaints from their people that the single biggest problem they had was the single-year budget process, and that multi-year budgeting would make their planning much, much, much easier.

Re:Unconstitutional? (2)

sycodon (149926) | about a year and a half ago | (#40983365)

And how could it be political grandstanding unless Harry Reid refuses to take it up?

Why would he refuse?

Re:Unconstitutional? (1)

crazyjj (2598719) | about a year and a half ago | (#40983441)

Why would he refuse?

Because he sees this bill for what it really is, just an effort to funnel lots of federal money to Texas and to the huge government contractor industry in Virginia. Do you really think that bible-thumping Republicans John Culberson and Frank Wolf give a rat's ass about science?

Re:Unconstitutional? (1)

sycodon (149926) | about a year and a half ago | (#40983451)

I see. So move NASA from Texas, Alabama and Florida and you would be good with it eh?

Re:Unconstitutional? (3, Interesting)

crazyjj (2598719) | about a year and a half ago | (#40983697)

No, there are good physical reasons why NASA facilities are located as close as we can get them within the U.S. to the equator. If I were to reform NASA, I wouldn't move the facilities--I would move them AWAY from Congress (who have so hopelessly politicized NASA that the agency has for 40 years been WAY more of a contractor funnel for Congressional pork than a research agency). Make them an independent agency with hardcore ethics laws to prevent either the President or Congress from influencing their duties, and maybe they could get some actual work done without worrying about which Congressman wants some graft this week.

Re:Unconstitutional? (2)

sycodon (149926) | about a year and a half ago | (#40983739)

So then...you are for NASA being restructured, even if that funnels "lots of federal money to Texas and to the huge government contractor industry in Virginia."

Re:Unconstitutional? (1)

medcalf (68293) | about a year and a half ago | (#40983773)

So you want NASA to be a company? Interesting.

Re:Unconstitutional? (1)

crazyjj (2598719) | about a year and a half ago | (#40983817)

Think of it as being something more akin to the CDC or an Inspector General--an quasi-independent agency with heavy shielding to protect them from political influence.

Re:Unconstitutional? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40983825)

Hmmm so Glenn, Ames, Goddard, are located close to the equator?

There are FAR more facilities than KSC, which is the only one that has the 'requirement' that it be close to the equator. There is nothing in JSC that requires it to be close to the equator, and Vandenberg (not a NASA facility by the way) only needs clear ocean for its launch trajectory as it gains nothing from being close to the equator.

Re:Unconstitutional? (2)

robot256 (1635039) | about a year and a half ago | (#40984331)

I know it just looks like pork going to a couple states, but the alternative is what we have with the Joint Strike Fighter--the supply chain is fragmented into all 50 states so nobody wants to kill it, but it raises the overall cost of the program substantially. And science is even harder to fragment than manufacturing--scientists need to be able to work together, and with engineers, regularly to make efficient progress.

It also means... (2)

wbr1 (2538558) | about a year and a half ago | (#40982961)

..that NASA could get stuck wirg low levels of appropriations for years at a time. Sigh.

Re:It also means... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40983025)

At least they'll then know what they're stuck with. Perhaps it will then allow them to get on with it and finish things. Currently, the rug could be (and has been) pulled from under any project that suddenly becomes politically inconvenient. When Obama leaves office, the next dimwit (Rep or Dem) WILL kill off SLS. Or remake it in such a way that he wins voters in Florida, which is why Obama reinstituted SLS after killing off Constellation. It is insane and none of them seems to know or care.

Re:It also means... (5, Insightful)

Aglassis (10161) | about a year and a half ago | (#40983099)

No kidding. How many space platforms have been researched, started, and then killed (NERVA, Apollo Applications, Space Station Freedom, Constellation, Prometheus, etc.)? NASA could probably do more with less if they were allowed to plan things to a reasonable extent. And if all of that wasted money was used productively, we would have had an astronaut on Mars by now.

The abuse of NASA by Congress and the President is disgraceful. Every President wants to look like Kennedy and every successive Administration or Congress wants to shit of his legacy. NASA simply gets caught in the crossfire.

Re:It also means... (0)

Bigby (659157) | about a year and a half ago | (#40984209)

Projects that never complete are not completely wasted money. An MBA might think that. But knowledge is developed and it reduces the cost on future projects.

Re:It also means... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40983029)

..that NASA could get stuck wirg low levels of appropriations for years at a time. Sigh.

So ship all the niggers (ALL OF EM) back to Africa. Take all that money we were spending on law enforcement, courts, incarceration, executions, EBT, Planned Parenthood, community outreach, sensitivity training (brainwashing), diversity posters, and the like, and use that to fund NASA. In a couple of years we'll have McDonalds and Walmarts on Mars!

It's such a great idea I can't believe we haven't already done it.

Wasteful spending at end of year? (2)

vlm (69642) | about a year and a half ago | (#40982979)

If funding were fixed for a number of years, the theory goes, money could be spent more efficiently.

I can't figure out if this would encourage or discourage the "Gotta spend every penny this year or we'll lose the money permanently for all future years" behavior.

If a multi-year budget means you get $30M for a project, in total, spread across the entire project, then you don't have the headache of spending exactly 3 mil each year for a decade so it discourages wasteful spending at the end of the year. On the other hand if multi-year budget means that $3M is set in stone for all eternity then it encourages wasteful spending.

Since wasteful spending = votes I'm going to guess it is designed to increase waste.

Re:Wasteful spending at end of year? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40983201)

Wasteful spending only turns into votes if you aim it properly at a swing state.

NASA's so called Budget (4, Insightful)

gatkinso (15975) | about a year and a half ago | (#40982987)

Is a drop in the bucket.

The top 5 defense contractors all have larger revenues than NASA's entire budget. The US Army spent more on air conditioning tents and trailers in Iraq than NASA's entire annual budget.

Want to fix NASA's budget? Actually give them one.

Re:NASA's so called Budget (5, Interesting)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about a year and a half ago | (#40983055)

Hey, you know: shag all that. Let's make NASA into a national http://www.kickstarter.com/ [kickstarter.com]. Pour loot into NASA, instead of these godforsaken SuperPAC ads, and we'll be all over the solar system, lickety-split.

Re:NASA's so called Budget (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40983167)

" and we'll be all over the solar system, lickety-split."

Such naive faith. Touching.

Re:NASA's so called Budget (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40983181)

Such condescending cynicism. Typical.

Re:NASA's so called Budget (5, Interesting)

dywolf (2673597) | about a year and a half ago | (#40983613)

I'd donate 20$ a month to NASA easily, without a second thought.
And that's probably 1000x bigger than their portion of my taxes too.

In fact, we should do that. Set up contribution funds seperate from taxes for certain programs that people would be able to contribute to at will. I'd contribute to NASA in a heartbeat. And give people a tax credit for doing so. You dont contribute, you pay taxes like normal, You do contribute, your final tax bill is reduced by say 5%, since your donation to a specific thing you feel strongly about will likely more than offset the credit.

Would have the effect of your contribution to the whole spectrum of programs via taxes is slightly smaller, but to that specific program (or two or three) is signicantly larger.

Plus would serve as semirealtime (well, not realtime, but you get what I mean) feedback to what people actually care about. No manipulated poll data, no sample size/location cherry picking...real data on the entire nation.

Re:NASA's so called Budget (4, Informative)

MyLongNickName (822545) | about a year and a half ago | (#40983793)

I'd donate 20$ a month to NASA easily, without a second thought.
And that's probably 1000x bigger than their portion of my taxes too.

Wonderful, but your numbers are a bit off. NASA's 2011 budget was a bit North of $18.4 Billion per year, or roughly $5/mo per person. This also can be translated to $6.50 or so per month per adult or to $11 per month per working American.

Re:NASA's so called Budget (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40983647)

Funny you say that when private industry is the whole damn reason we even use space right now for anything.
There is a stupidly tiny amount of government-sponsored projects in space right now.

If there were a lottery that donated some of the money straight to space ventures, we'd be playing Quake with awful lag between Mars and Earth right now. You already died before you started the game.

Re:NASA's so called Budget (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#40983057)

Not that NASA is the primary customer, by any means; but they farm out enough work that it would be very difficult to increase NASA's budget without also increasing the revenues of major defense contractors. Culturally NASA has a noble mission of doing some good science, often of the flavor with limited immediate payoff; but financially they help keep defense contractors humming when demand for their more lethal products is softer than they would hope.

Re:NASA's so called Budget (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40983255)

Well, yes, and if your goal is to give less revenue to defense contractors that would be a problem. Personally, I don't care about that. Grumman could build a lunar lander just as well as they could build a bomber. The contractors build what's asked of them, that's the whole point. So let's move some money away from shiny military trinkets and into a a manned mars lander. We get good science, defense contractors don't lobby against it the way they would for just a straight cut in the military budget, everyone wins.

Re:NASA's so called Budget (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40983219)

Same could be said about the Medicare/Medicaid budget. Or Social Security. But those are as off-topic as your post.

Re:NASA's so called Budget (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40983247)

And that's not even considering the ENTIRE military budget is only 17% of what the federal government spends and is dwarfed by what we waste on harmful federal welfarf programs.

Re:NASA's so called Budget (4, Insightful)

gatkinso (15975) | about a year and a half ago | (#40983427)

Somehow the cost of the war(s) are not considered part of the military budget.

Interesting dodge, that.

Re:NASA's so called Budget (1)

chill (34294) | about a year and a half ago | (#40984343)

Not really, as the Defense portion of the Budget is about $700 billion annually and the appropriations for the two wars is about $170 billion annually.

What is an interesting dodge is not accounting for the indirect military spending. Also, if you assign the associated interest payments on all that where they belong instead of a category by themselves you get a different picture.

Then military spending comes in at about 35% of the total budget.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:U.S._Federal_Spending_-_FY_2011.png [wikipedia.org]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_budget_of_the_United_States [wikipedia.org]
http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0933935.html [infoplease.com]

Re:NASA's so called Budget (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40983289)

Is a drop in the bucket.

The top 5 defense contractors all have larger revenues than NASA's entire budget. The US Army spent more on air conditioning tents and trailers in Iraq than NASA's entire annual budget.

Want to fix NASA's budget? Actually give them one.

How about a budget for the ENTIRE government?

We don't have one thanks to Harry Reid.

Re:NASA's so called Budget (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40983337)

Wow, so one guy is responsible for every budget holdup for the past three years? Sounds legit.

Re:NASA's so called Budget (3, Insightful)

BVis (267028) | about a year and a half ago | (#40983527)

See my above comment. Why bring a bill to the floor that has zero chance of passing? The GOP does that all the time.

He's damned if he does and damned if he doesn't. If he brings the budget to the floor, and it fails, the GOP will get to scream about how their budget would cure cancer, fix global warming, and create a job for every unemployed person in America, but the mean nasty lbrls won't give it a chance. Come to think of it, they can do that if he doesn't bring that to the floor, too.

So all things being equal, maybe he doesn't want to waste the Senate's limited time in session. Or, maybe, the GOP could give them a bill that could be debated meaningfully on the Senate floor. That's how it is supposed to work. One house proposes and passes a bill, and if the other house won't pass it, then negotiations can start on the issues addressed in the plan. But, the current House's ability to compromise or negotiate can't be seen with the naked eye, so we have the situation we have.

Re:NASA's so called Budget (1)

ganjadude (952775) | about a year and a half ago | (#40984255)

in other words "you didnt write a bill that we like, so we are taking our ball and going home" It is the same thing as when the Ds in Wi left the state rather than have a vote. the Ds are all worried about the Rs "taking away the right to vote" from the avg american, yet they dont even want to have a vote. You say that "we know it wont win" well, no we dont, it hasnt been voted on, therefore we do not know.

Radical Idea (5, Insightful)

roman_mir (125474) | about a year and a half ago | (#40983017)

Stop the wars and spend 1% of what is spent on wars on NASA instead.

Re:Radical Idea (1)

AdrianKemp (1988748) | about a year and a half ago | (#40983261)

I think you meant invasions, there has to be an opposition for there to be a war...

Re:Radical Idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40983429)

I think you meant invasions, there has to be an opposition for there to be a war...

Oh, there is an opposition as soon there is an invasion.

Re:Radical Idea (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | about a year and a half ago | (#40983869)

I agree with stopping the wars. I'd love to see military spending down two-thirds, social welfare programs designed to get people off of welfare instead of dependent on it except in the case of those who are truly unable to work, a balanced budget and increase science spending.

However, please be aware that we do spend $18B per year on NASA which is well over 1% of war costs.

Re:Radical Idea (3, Insightful)

roman_mir (125474) | about a year and a half ago | (#40984023)

Sure, but if US gov't didn't run the wars, spending on NASA could be increased by that 1% of the cost of war and at the same time the gov't spending would decrease overall. If the SS and Medicare were reformed (AFAIC they should be abolished, but let's say reformed), so that there is means testing - you don't get it if you don't need it (even those who are getting it today), then US economy could actually deleverage, stop the deficit spending, start paying back some of the debt. If the gov't size shrunk, the way it was done in 1921 and 1947, then US economy would actually start growing again within a couple of years from deleveraging. How much easier is it to find some money to fund NASA in a growing economy that is not wasting money and is not running wars than in a war type economy, with many times the war size government?

bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40983949)

Stop the wars and spend 1% of what is spent on wars on NASA instead.

you wouldn't spend even 1% of that on nasa, you would give it all back as tax breaks to the wealthiest in the country. don't sugar coat your agenda.

Re:bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40984141)

You are 100% right, I wouldn't. I would cut all gov't programs, I would abolish departments, I would fire 99% of all gov't workers, I would repeal 99% of all laws. You are right.

But I am not running the show, so what do you care?

Re:bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40984295)

and you would spend that 1% funding some random bug habatat or pay your cronies charities, all while pretending to help the little guy. Either way you look at it, the spending would never decrease

In a bold counterproposal... (4, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#40983043)

NASA has proposed reorganizing themselves as the "United Earth Directorate" and absorbing all legacy governments.

Re:In a bold counterproposal... (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about a year and a half ago | (#40983227)

NASA has proposed reorganizing themselves as the "United Earth Directorate" and absorbing all legacy governments.

This position is taken already... by UN.

Re:In a bold counterproposal... (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | about a year and a half ago | (#40983489)

That will never get support from the libertarians though. You need to instead replace it with the "Union Aerospace Corporation", with a mandate to build facilities on Deimos and Phobos. What could possibly go wrong?

Re:In a bold counterproposal... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#40983561)

I'm pretty sure that getting invaded and sacked by demons is bad for shareholder value, so nothing at all, clearly.

removal from politics? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40983059)

Good luck in 2012 America.

*ALL* those bastards care about is politics.

Either good or bad, depending (3, Insightful)

overshoot (39700) | about a year and a half ago | (#40983155)

I wouldn't count on much of anything more substantive than renaming post offices to get through Congress for the foreseeable future.

Re:Either good or bad, depending (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | about a year and a half ago | (#40983559)

Who said they could manage renaming post offices? I mean, I'll grant you that Republicans are in the process of renaming anything they can for Ronald Reagan, but I don't think they can get that through the Senate.

And they wonder why the Congressional approval rating dropped below 12% this year (it's now bounced back to 17%).

Make NASA run like a business... (0)

RudySolis (1438319) | about a year and a half ago | (#40983159)

...with a business model...
...with goods and services...
...and other sorts of incomes...
...like Patent Royalties on all the great discoveries they've made.
I sleep on 'space age' NASA foam every night!


Then they can spend what they make and get the government out of the space business, except again, to aquire goods and services which NASA could provide.

Re:Make NASA run like a business... (5, Insightful)

dbIII (701233) | about a year and a half ago | (#40983217)

If you do that they'll get out of space completely and do something else that turns a profit.
"Run X like a business" is simplistic bullshit unless the goal is to make money supplying something someone needs.

Re:Make NASA run like a business... (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | about a year and a half ago | (#40984435)

So long as you split the NASA launch departments from the NASA science departments it could work, and is essentially what we're moving to anyway. The science is still funded through congress, they shop around for the rocket that does the job they need for the cost and risk they like.

Re:Make NASA run like a business... (5, Insightful)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about a year and a half ago | (#40983243)

Oh great.

Sorry... when you think there is ONE system that works in all cases, you're the member of a cult.

Government agencies are not businesses. I have no problem with them getting other streams of income, but "the market" is not God. Not everything worth doing is going to make a profit, and when you start letting "the market" determine what is good for space exploration, you are at best going to have areas not explored and at worst dead astronauts.

Re:Make NASA run like a business... (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about a year and a half ago | (#40983321)

...with a business model... ...with goods and services... ...and other sorts of incomes... ...like Patent Royalties on all the great discoveries they've made.

Add a CEO with bonuses and a golden-parachute (fake CV-es and imaginary diplomas are a bonus). Sprinkle with some creative accounting Enron style and dust copiously with patent suits (like Apple/Samsung/Oracle). Some patent/copyright trolling (maybe following the SCO model?) for a special flavour.

Wait ... wait a second. (1)

Grindalf (1089511) | about a year and a half ago | (#40983185)

What happens if there is a higher than nominal inflation period in the interim time between the new longer budget cycle decision points? Could that be factored into the equation?

Multi-year budgets "unconstitutional"? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40983251)

We don''t even HAVE a budget now.

Once the Democrats took power, they did away with that for the ENTIRE government.

Re:Multi-year budgets "unconstitutional"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40983277)

Do you *really* think that the Republicans are not part of that problem.

Re:Multi-year budgets "unconstitutional"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40983695)

OF course they aren't! They passed a budget in the house that donated 50 trillion dollars to Goldman Sachs, KBR, and their local constituents; paid for by closing the FDA, NEA, EPA, CMS, SSI, cancelling all first amendment rights for workers to peaceably assemble into unions, zeroing all taxes on people who make more than a million dollars, Iraqi Oil, etc.

It's entirely the Senate Democrats' fault for voting against it, instead of just rolling over and accepting whatever the Republicans dish out.

Budgets (1)

Curunir_wolf (588405) | about a year and a half ago | (#40983307)

Second, NASA funding would be placed on a multi-year rather than annual cycle.

It seems they have already been on that kind of funding for about 4 years now, seeing as Congress has failed in their Constitutional duty to pass a budget for 4 years...

Re:Budgets (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40983469)

You've bought into the GOP's false narrative.

Congress hasn't failed in their duty, which is as follows:

"No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time."

There have been laws passed for appropriations, and there are statements and accounts, deceptive though they may be.

The Republicans just want to get people upset that no grand "Budget" has been passed, but while they claim to have passed one themselves, none of them made it through the Senate, so we've been stuck with other methods. It's fine, they have made Appropriations, not ideal ones, but genuine ones.

Of course the GOP wants you to believe the Democrats are the obstacle, with no responsibility of their own, but that's just a typical Conservative tactic. Whatever a right-winger does is fine, never questioned or challenged, whatever somebody else does? It must be punished!

Re:Budgets (1)

Curunir_wolf (588405) | about a year and a half ago | (#40983643)

Sorry you don't understand big words like "consequence of appropriations" - it means a budget.

What they have done instead is to pass "continuing resolutions" instead, which means they just keep spending the same amount they did last quarter, or last year. They have done that ever since the (bipartisan) bank bailouts and the (mostly bipartisan) stimulus spending bill. It allows them to keep spending at astronomically high rates without doing the hard work of cutting spending or securing more revenues.

It's not about D/R, it's about the elite party insiders running DC, their buddies on Wall Street, and screw the rest of us.

Re:Budgets (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40984263)

It is about Republicans, as they ARE the ones trying to make hay over this phantom issue of "not passing a budget" which you've bought into, while completely ignoring how those "continuing resolutions" are in fact appropriations, and just as valid.

You can wax eloquently all you like about Congress not doing the hard work to do things right, but the fact is Democrats have compromised deeply on spending, while Republicans have been aghast at the idea of ANY revenue increases, to the point where they won't even find themselves able to accept a 10 to 1 ratio of spending cuts to tax increases.

Except by empty and vapid claims about eliminating unnamed tax shelters somehow.

Sorry, but while you may think you're non-partisan, your false equivalency is actually putting you on one side, perhaps without you realizing it.

Election year grandstanding (1)

tomhath (637240) | about a year and a half ago | (#40983311)

Lots of it happening on both sides this summer. It'll dry up in a few months and most will go back to the golf games and fact-finding trips to the Caribbean.

Looking at the two sponsors (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40983355)

Is this going to have a rider mandating Faith Based Space Exploration?

NASA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40983431)

If the administrator position were for a nominal 7-10 year term and had the authority to hire his successor at any time, it would make more sense.

The very best way to fix NASA is to privatize the budget amn management function entirely off-budget from the government and fund the government portion with a "block grant" to the NGO.

The entire problem with NASA is being married to Federal government rules and procedures.

JJ

You know who REALLY needs this? (0)

MikeRT (947531) | about a year and a half ago | (#40983433)

The FBI actually needs this more than anyone else. It's a little known fact that the FBI is the only federal agency that has no charter-defined enforcement authority; all enforcement authority comes from the Attorney General. That means that they live and die in their latitude to investigate federal crimes by politics.

What we need is the FBI to receive a well defined grant of authority from Congress and to make them an independent agency unaccountable to the President. There is precedent for this; the US Marshals Service, until a few decades ago, didn't report to the President. It reported to the federal judiciary.

Re:You know who REALLY needs this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40983467)

If the executive branch isn't running law enforcement, why call it the executive branch? I thought that was the whole point. Putting the FBI under the control of an unelected, unaccountable appointee sounds like a terrible idea.

Summary (3, Insightful)

dywolf (2673597) | about a year and a half ago | (#40983477)

-First, a NASA administrator would be named to a ten year term. The intent is to provide some continuity in the way the space agency is run and to remove it, as
much as possible, from the vagaries of politics.
GOOD.

-Second, NASA funding would be placed on a multi-year rather than annual cycle. This is of particular importance to the space agency because the majority of its high level projects take several years to run their course. If funding were fixed for a number of years, the theory goes, money could be spent more efficiently. NASA planners would know how much they have to spend four or so years going forward and would not have to worry about being cut off at the knees by Congressional appropriators year after year."
EXTREMELY GOOD.

-But is it more than political grandstanding in an election year?
POSSIBLE. But that doesn't mean it shouldn't happen

-NASA could get stuck with a bad administrator
As a part of the executive branch, the president himself has oversight. Also, very unlikely; you dont get picked to run nasa if you're a bad manager

-multi-year budgets might be a bit unconstitutional
On what grounds?

Bad administration (1)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | about a year and a half ago | (#40983495)

So, make a clause in the multi-year contract that if the Administrator sucks and isn't doing his job, fire his ass and take the next guy in line.

Why should these positions be any different than any other employment?

Re:Bad administration (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about a year and a half ago | (#40983973)

Because Government is unlike any other employer.

This is the reason for the civil service system in the first place. While it has it's downsides, without it all government positions would become political appointees.

Reform (1)

rossdee (243626) | about a year and a half ago | (#40983497)

Congresses idea of 'Reform' - cut spending on anything not related to the military, and give the money to the rich people as a tax cut.

"There might be a few problems: " (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40984083)

Beyond the fact that the sponsoring congressmen are Republicans? Oh.... I'm sorry, I guess we weren't supposed to know that.

No No No No (0)

BMOC (2478408) | about a year and a half ago | (#40984229)

Putting them on multi-year funding is how you turn NASA into the Department of Commerce, it is NOT how you go to Mars. The fact that NASA has to justify their spending each year, and stand before Congress to defend their programmatic problems or sucesses IS A GOOD THING. The only problem with their budget is the fact that their numbers are fairly small and THE DIRECTION THEY ARE GIVEN FROM THE EXECUTIVE CHANGES TOO OFTEN. $18 billion per year is plenty to put humans on mars, but NASA has become bloated and civil-servanty. It's time to trim the fat, return to the roots of rocket-engineering, and pool the money into a single project.
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