NASA Budget:

Potential Shortfalls in Funding NASA's 5-Year Plan

T-NSIAD-92-18: Published: Mar 17, 1992. Publicly Released: Mar 17, 1992.

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GAO discussed the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) 5-Year Plan. GAO noted that: (1) between fiscal year (FY) 1988 and FY 1991, the NASA budget has grown steadily in current dollars from $9 billion to $14 billion; (2) although the NASA FY 1992 budget submission proposed the 5-Year Plan, in which its annual appropriation would reach nearly $25 billion by FY 1995 based on previous trends in increasing NASA budget authorities, the Budget Enforcement Act of 1990 set limits on discretionary spending that constrained funding allocations for NASA programs; (3) for FY 1992, Congress provided NASA with a 3-percent increase, and advised NASA to expect roughly a 3- to 5-percent increase for FY 1993; (4) the current NASA 5-Year Plan estimates that ongoing programs and schedules will require $90.4 billion through FY 1991, excluding one project totalling $2 billion, due to possible termination of that project; and (5) for NASA to realize $92.4 billion in budget authority between FY 1993 and FY 1997, as its current plan reflects, Congress would have to increase its budget each year to an appropriation of over $21 billion by FY 1991. GAO believes that the plan is overly optimistic, given the President's budget proposal and the Budget Enforcement Act's fiscal constraints on discretionary spending.

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