The national deficit is $1.3 trillion dollars and growing. The Republican led House Appropriations Committee's mission is to cut that figure exponentially.
Most federally funded programs are currently operating on the same budgets from 2010. That's because Congress couldn't come to terms on 2011 fiscal budgets for several agencies.
NASA is one of those agencies currently operating on an extension of a 2010 fiscal budget. Congress must decide to extend the plan or replace it with a new budget by March 4th.
If House Republicans get their way, $329 million dollars will be cut from President Obama's original 2011 proposal of a $19 billion dollar NASA budget. If this happens, NASAís funding would drop to $18.6 billion or $103 million less than the current level.
A final bill outlining cuts is expected to pass in the House, but it's likely to meet staunch opposition in the Democrat controlled Senate.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has formally asked President Obama to keep NASA exempt from budget cuts. Reid believes NASA needs the full $19.4 billion dollars outlined in the, "NASA Authorization Act of 2010." This law is responsible for the cancellation of the Constellation program; replacing manned space flight with heavy lift rockets to go deeper into space.
President Obama's proposal for NASA's 2012 fiscal budget will be Monday afternoon at 1pm on NASA TV. After the announcement, Robert Lightfoot from the Marshall Space Flight Center will discuss the budget proposal.