The Senate approved an appropriation bill Wednesday providing only about one-fifth of the amount requested by the administration for a manned space station, prompting a protest by NASA Administrator James Fletcher.
Senators voted 86-11 to approve the $59.1 billion appropriation for next year for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and 15 other independent agencies.The bill provides $200 million for a proposed manned space station, $767.4 million less than the administration requested. Senior White House aides have said they would recommend President Reagan veto the legislation for that reason.
NASA Administrator James Fletcher issued a statement saying, "We are disappointed at the Senate's action on funding for the space station. This is the ultimate outcome: It is a setback for NASA and a blow to this country's future in space."
"I hope the conference committee will reverse this action and keep the space station on schedule," Fletcher said.
The Senate appropriation is $702 million lower than the House-approved amount for the space station. The Senate would use the money either to phase out the program or to continue it until the next administration determines its future.
The measure cuts just about all money for the Urban Development Action Grants program, which the Reagan administration has opposed for the past eight years.
Sen. John Heinz, R-Pa., proposed an amendment to move $30 million from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to UDAG but was defeated on a vote of 64-22 Tuesday.
The legislation increases the fiscal 1989 appropriation by $2.4 billion for all 17 agencies over 1988.