U.S. White House Threatens Veto Over NOAA, NASA Funding

Just say no. White House officials say they would advise President Barack Obama to veto a House version of appropriations bill over NOAA, NASA spending levels.

The U.S. House of Representatives today begins work on passing a 2013 spending bill that includes robust funding for the National Science Foundation—but the White House is threatening to veto the bill because of spending levels for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and NASA.

The Obama Administration "strongly opposes" the bill's passage for a variety of reasons, it writes in a 7 May Statement of Administration Policy (SAP). One problem is that the Republican-led House has adopted a lower total spending level for the 2013 fiscal year, which begins 1 October, than Congress and the White House agreed to last year in resolving an impasse over borrowing by the federal government.

Other deal breakers include a House plan to give NOAA $93 million less than the White House requested. "This cut would impact negatively NOAA's ability to support the Nation's fisheries and oceans stewardship programs," the Administration argues, although it "appreciates" the House bill's support for the agency's "mission-critical satellite programs."

The Administration also "strongly opposes" a flat budget for NASA's efforts to develop commercial launch vehicles for its astronauts. In addition, "while the Administration appreciates the overall funding level provided to NASA," the statement says "the bill provides some NASA programs with unnecessary increases at the expense of other important initiatives."

The House is expected to complete work on the 2013 appropriations bill (H.R. 5326) for the departments of commerce and justice, science, and related agencies later this week.