The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

April 10, 2013

Ag, education cuts, energy boosted: Agency by agency guide to Obama's 2014 budget

(Continued)

WASHINGTON —

The proposal increases by almost $300 million money to help private companies develop commercial spaceships to carry astronauts to the International Space Station instead of the Russian Soyuz rocket and the now-retired space shuttle fleet. Republicans in Congress have at times balked at increases in this program. It also generally continues current spending levels for NASA's biggest ticket items, $5 billion a year for science, $3 billion a year for the International Space Station, construction of a new heavy-lift rocket and a capsule to hold astronauts, and what will eventually be an $8 billion replacement for the Hubble Space Telescope.

NASA's education spending would drop by $45 million — nearly one-third of the agency's education budget — because science education would be consolidated and augmented at other agencies, especially the Department of Education.

After sequestration, NASA's 2013 spending has dropped to about $16.6 billion.

___

Agency: State

Total Spending: $47.3 billion

Percentage Change from 2013: -17.7 percent

Discretionary Spending: $51.8 billion

Mandatory Spending: $0

Highlights: Improving security at America's 274 diplomatic posts abroad in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the mission in Benghazi, Libya, is a main aim of Obama's proposed 2014 State Department budget. The proposal calls for spending more than $4 billion on security upgrades and additional protective personnel, as recommended by an expert panel convened after the Benghazi attack that killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans.

Significant reductions in the proposed budget reflect the Obama administration's scaling down of operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Although contingency programs in those frontline states account for $6.8 billion of the proposed budget, that is $4.2 billion less than requested in 2012. It includes $1.7 billion for civilian programs in Iraq, $3.1 billion for Afghanistan and $1.3 billion for Pakistan.

The budget honors commitments in assistance to U.S. allies in the Mideast: Israel, $3.1 billion in military aid, Egypt, $1.5 billion in military aid and economic support, and $660 million for Jordan. And, it contains a request for $580 million for programs to encourage reform in the Middle East and North Africa in the aftermath of the revolutions that have rocked the Arab world.

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