Great Society vs. NASA [...]

Need to implement Great Society initiatives on a tight budget may have nudged out NASA requests in 1966

In truth, there were events external to the space program that made it impossible to evaluate proposals on their merits. NASA requests were cut back steadily by the Bureau after 1966, not because they lacked virtues that earlier requests possessed, but because of the Vietnam War, a balance-of-payments deficit, an overheated economy, and the higher priorities of Great Society programs. Johnson wanted to reduce spending without sacrificing the substance of his social commitments. When the NASA authorization bill was sent to the White House in August 1967 for Johnson’s signature, Schultze and Presidential Assistant Joseph Califano listed the pros and cons of the President’s issuing a statement before signing the bill. In signing, Johnson would in effect accept a $517 million reduction already voted by the House Appropriations Committee. Schultze argued that by issuing a statement, “it will help avoid later charges by supporters of the space program of a double cross. Eventually we are going to have to cut at least this much from the space program. If supporters of the program . . . fight for and get some restoration of this cut only to be faced with an administration-initiated reduction, they may charge bad faith.”46 Hence Schultze’s warning to Webb: “Avoid making commitments . . . for increases above the levels at which you err operating…. Exercise special prudence in filling vacancies…. Except when major Presidential items are concerned, avoid appealing for restoration of congressional cuts in recommended appropriations.”47 (Source)


Budgeting also changed in 1966. See PPBS and NASA