NASA's current predicament-being required to spend money during the ongoing series of continuing resolutions on elements of Constellation effectively canceled by the NASA authorization act-has gotten the attention of one member of Congress, but with the potential for undesired consequences for the space agency. Appearing on CBS's "Face the Nation" Sunday morning, guest host Harry Smith asked Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) how much spending could be cut over the next couple of years. Issa's response (from page 15 of the transcript): I'm looking at about two hundred billion. As the amount that we can either identify and eliminate the waste or at least begin the process and I'll give you one that's pretty easy. It's been in the papers. In the last days of last congress they funded five hundred million dollars for a rocket program at NASA that's already been shut down. That can't be too hard to undo. The potential problem for NASA is that Issa and like-minded fellow members of Congress could see that spending not as an artifact of FY10 appropriations language that needs to be updated to allow the agency to instead fund other programs, like the new heavy-lift Space Launch System included in the authorization act, but as waste to simply be cut entirely.
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