Senate adds $1 billion to NASA budget

The Senate has added $1 billion to NASA's budget as both Democrats and Republicans voted to further break President Bush's budget for domestic programs. The funding was added to a $56 billion measure funding science programs and the departments of Commerce and Justice for the fiscal year that began Monday. The NASA funding was sponsored chiefly by Democrat Barbara Mikulski, who said that "The agency was never fully reimbursed and was forced to make dramatic cuts to other programs." The bill already contained $17.5 billion for NASA, a 7% increase over 2007 funding.

The money would replenish NASA accounts tapped to make improvements to the space shuttle program in the wake of the crash of the Columbia shuttle. The space agency has tapped non-shuttle accounts such as science and other space exploration programs for about $2.7 billion for safety upgrades and other costs identified after the 2003 disaster.

News source: Mercury News

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