In a sign of just how fraked up Washington has become, a bipartisan Super Committee formed to recommend at least $1.2 trillion in federal budget cuts returned a big fat goose egg today. After months of secret negotiations, they could agree on only one thing:
“Despite our inability to bridge the committee’s significant differences, we end this process united in our belief that the nation’s fiscal crisis must be addressed and that we cannot leave it for the next generation to solve,” the panel’s two co-chairs, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Tex., said in a statement.
Well, I’m glad you’re here to tell us these things. Any other pearls of wisdom you’d like to impart before we kick your asses to the curb next year?
So, what does this mean? The failure will trigger $1 trillion dollars in “automatic” spending cuts beginning with the FY 2013 fiscal year that starts next Oct. 1. That could mean deep cuts in NASA and the Federal Aviation Administration, which are both key players in the emerging commercial space sector.
The combination of a shrinking budget and Congress’s preference for funding big ticket items such as the Space Launch System, Orion crew vehicle, and James Webb Space Telescope will squeeze funding for other NASA priorities such as the Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) program. CCDev, which received less than half of its funding request this year, could find itself without sufficient funding just as it needs to ramp up spending in order to field vehicles. And that will mean longer delays in flying a shuttle replacement and hundreds of millions of dollars being shipped over the Russia for transportation services.