As part of FY22 appropriations, Members of Congress could request to designate a certain amount of federal funding for specific projects in their communities.
While agencies often have discretion over how they award funds, Congress has directed them to distribute these funds to designated recipients. We're tracking the funds to help ensure transparency.
NASA's FY22 appropriations included $22.7 million for 21 of these projects.
This report looks at when NASA plans to distribute the funds and how it plans to ensure they're spent properly.
We're also tracking these funds across government and at 17 other agencies.
NASA: Where did the FY 2022 funding go?
What GAO Found
The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2022 appropriated $22.7 million to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for 21 projects at the request of Members of Congress. The act includes specific provisions that designate an amount of funds for a particular recipient to use for a specific project. These provisions are called "Congressionally Directed Spending" in the U.S. Senate and "Community Project Funding" in the House of Representatives.
GAO described, among other things, information about the intended uses for these funds, the recipients to whom they were designated, and when NASA expects recipients will have access to the funds:
The intended uses of these funds are to expand education capabilities, upgrade exhibits and equipment at science museums and learning centers, and support space-related research projects.
The designated recipients of these funds are mostly higher education organizations, including one university receiving funds for two projects. The remaining recipients are other nonprofit organizations and one local government. Funding ranged from $70,000 to $5 million, with half of the projects receiving less than $1 million.
NASA officials stated that grant awards were made by August 2022. NASA has until the end of fiscal year 2028 to fully disburse the funds, but may use its discretion to establish shorter periods.
Why GAO Did This Study
The joint explanatory statement accompanying the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2022 includes a provision for GAO to review agencies' implementation of Community Project Funding/Congressionally Directed Spending.
For more information, contact William Russell (202) 512-4841 or firstname.lastname@example.org.