A quirk in the 2010 budget and the continuing resolution have forced NASA to continue funding already-canceled Ares V rocket program to the tune of $465 million through March 4.
The Orlando Sentinel caught this one:
At the root of the problem is a 70-word sentence inserted into the 2010 budget — by lawmakers seeking to protect Ares I jobs in their home states — that bars NASA from shutting down the program until Congress passed a new budget a year later.
That should have happened before the Oct. 1 start of the federal fiscal year.
But Congress never passed a 2011 budget and instead voted this month to extend the 2010 budget until March — so NASA still must abide by the 2010 language.
The language was placed into the 2010 budget by Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., and keeps the whole Constellation program going until March 4, at a cost of $1.2 billion.
Or as I would like to call it, 20 percent of the yearly amount that is saved by the federal pay freeze.