House includes Hubble repairs in passing blueprint for NASA


WASHINGTON - The House overwhelmingly endorsed President Bush's plans to go to the moon and Mars but put its own imprint on the future of NASA yesterday, insisting that the space agency also concentrate on research programs and repairing the Hubble telescope.

The Hubble, along with science programs and aeronautics research, is popular in Congress partly because the contracts generate thousands of jobs, injecting millions into the economies of many lawmakers' districts. The first blueprint for NASA's future in five years passed 383-15.

Congress has pushed hard for a mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope, which has been popular with lawmakers and the public for the pictures it has beamed back to Earth. The White House had resisted the repair mission, which would cost an additional $270 million.

Earlier this week, the White House said it was concerned that the House had added $500 million to next year's NASA budget and proposed $760 million extra for the following year. The total House bill approved yesterday sets aside $33.43 billion for NASA over two years.

The Senate still has to vote on the measure.

Lawmakers have also pushed for more money for NASA programs beyond human space exploration.

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