This area will cover relevant news of the threat to the planet from Near Earth Objects (NEOs) including concepts and designs for mitigation. All opinions are those of the author.

21 June 2008

OMB Response to H.R. 6063: Implications for NEO aspects aspects of the legislation

As a follow-up to the U.S. House of Representatives, the White House, through its Office of Management and Budget (OMB), has responded to the U.S. House of Representatives H.R. 6063 resolution. The statement from the OMB has elements related to multiple items on NASA’s agenda including the human lunar exploration architecture, retirement of the Space Shuttle, extension of the International Space Station (ISS). The statements relate to Congress directing NASA (and thus the Executive branch) on specific actions, these may also relate to the reports and actions related to NEOs. We must anticipate the negotiations of the OMB and Congress on these NEO items in the House resolution. Specific language of the OMB statements includes the following:

In addition, H.R. 6063 directs several specific activities under the assumption that additional funding will be appropriated, making it likely they will become unfounded….Directing activities in this manner would severely disrupt the budgets for NASA’s ongoing, carefully-balanced programs and Centers linked to other high-priority goals and activities. For this reason and in view of associated problematic policy implications, the following requirements should either be removed from the bill or appropriately modified:… and (5) prescribing specific roles and responsibilities regarding NASA’s work with various advisory and external review committees and other Federal agencies that the Administration believes would be problematic and duplicative of already well-established roles and responsibilities.

Finally, in addition to the significant concerns highlighted above that must be satisfactorily addressed prior to final congressional action, the Administration has an overarching concern about the highly prescriptive nature of the bill and the significant number of reports and studies that this legislation would require. The Administration understands the need for timely information for Congress to conduct its oversight responsibilities; however, the burden that would be placed on various agencies of the Executive Branch, including NASA, is of concern. The Administration looks forward to working with Congress to modify these aspects of the bill.

June 10, 2008 (House Rules)
H.R. 6063 – National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2008

Link: OMB Statement (from the White House) PDF

Link: OMB Statement (from the White House) Text

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