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Congress will give NASA nearly $20 billion next year

Lawmakers do right by the space agency for once.

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In a surprise move, the Republican-controlled Congress has promised to give NASA roughly $19.3 billion dollars next year as part of its 2016 omnibus spending bill. That's nearly a billion dollars beyond the $18.5 billion that the Obama administration had requested and $1.23 billion more than the agency received last year.

Those extra funds are earmarked for NASA's new commercial crew program. With that cash infusion, the agency should be able to meet the program's 2017 launch goal. Once that happens, NASA will no longer be beholden to Russia for its rocket launches -- as it has been since the demise of the shuttle program back in 2011.

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