AIA Blasts Cuts in NASA, NOAA Budgets

ARLINGTON, Va., July 12, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Aerospace Industries Association is concerned about the substantial cuts being made to the budgets of NASA and NOAA in the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and Science markup of the fiscal year 2012 appropriations bill.

“We recognize that tough economic times call for tough choices,” said AIA President and CEO Marion C. Blakey. “However, cutting NASA and NOAA this deeply threatens American leadership in space and impairs our ability to make life-saving weather predictions.”

The subcommittee’s markup cuts NASA’s space programs by 10 percent from the President’s request and nearly 13 percent from the NASA authorization passed last October. AIA acknowledges that many NASA mission areas were adequately supported—but some suffered draconian cuts. Given the current fiscal environment, AIA believes the $18.7 billion in funding proposed by the President provides the minimum required for these important programs. AIA supports appropriations reflecting the policy priorities of the NASA Authorization Act of 2010 as closely as possible and opposes the termination of programs contrary to the priorities of the Authorization Act.

With the imminent retirement of the Space Shuttle, NASA must be adequately funded to continue our visible national commitment to space exploration, science, aeronautics and technology leadership—something that 58 percent of Americans recently polled by the Pew Research Center supported.

“Each ride to the space station that NASA buys from Russia is the annual equivalent of 1000 American aerospace jobs,” Blakey said. “We should be paying Americans instead of Russians.”

In addition, NOAA would get $1 billion less than the President’s request—an 18 percent cut in a year when storms have already taken hundreds of lives and shown the need for accurate forecasts. Our public safety, national security and economic recovery argues for fully funding NOAA to get observing programs back on track and mitigate any loss in coverage due to aging systems.

“The health of our space programs has major implications for the innovation economy, the national maintenance of critical skill sets and fostering math and science education,” Blakey said. “Supporting NASA and NOAA at stable and predictable funding levels is crucial for mission success, impacting lives, the economy and our nation’s security.”

About AIA

Founded in 1919 shortly after the birth of flight, the Aerospace Industries Association is the most authoritative and influential trade association representing the nation’s leading manufacturers and suppliers of civil, military and business aircraft, helicopters, unmanned aircraft systems, space systems, aircraft engines, homeland and cybersecurity systems, materiel and related components, equipment services and information technology.