The Senate Appropriations Committee yesterday approved a $78.6 billion space, veterans, housing and environmental bill for 1991, but disappointed supporters of the space station and other high-priority administration programs may seek to revise the budget allocation for the measure when it reaches the floor.
The overall National Aeronautics and Space Administration appropriation of $13.4 billion is up almost 10 percent from this year, but space partisans are unhappy with the $1.6 billion earmarked for the space station -- 50 percent below the president's request and less than the allocation for this year.
Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.), who chairs the subcommittee that drafted the bill, blamed an unusual budgetary squeeze for the cuts. Due to the anomalies of the appropriations process, her subcommittee had some $600 million less than the counterpart House panel to allocate to two major departments and 22 independent agencies.
The bill deletes virtually all money in 1991 for the president's high-priority Moon-Mars program, and eliminates funds for the comet and asteroid rendezvous in the so-called CRAF-Cassini space probe. Sen. Dennis DeConcini (D-Ariz.) protested that the cut will hit University of Arizona researchers.
Nevertheless, money was found in the measure for dozens of projects in states of members of the Appropriations Committee.