Barney Frank on Cutting the Budget: Cancel Mission to Mars

By Patrick Burke | December 20, 2012 | 7:35 PM EST

Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.). (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

( -- Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) views cancelling the American mission to Mars, at a current projected cost of $360.8 million, as a way to reduce the federal budget, which was $3.79 trillion in fiscal year 2012.

Other ways by which he would like to cut the budget include reducing military spending and agricultural subsidies.

At the U.S. Capitol on Thursday, asked Frank, “Are there other budgetary cuts that you would support—some examples that you’d like to see put forward?”

Frank responded, “Oh sure. Going to Mars. We can save a couple of hundred billion dollars. I would cancel the notion of a man-Mars-space situation.”

He continued, “I think agricultural subsidies can be substantially reduced. Mostly, I would like to see the military very substantially reduced and then I would accept constraints elsewhere. I’d like to do more on housing. I can see where we could do that. But I think you’ll make major reductions in the man-space program, the military and agricultural subsidies.”

In the NASA budget request for FY 2013, the category of “Mars Exploration” accounts for $360.8 million. That same figure was $602.2 million during FY 2012.

The federal budget in fiscal year 2012 was $3.79 trillion, of which $1.3 trillion was borrowed, deficit money. The deficit for fiscal year 2013 is projected to be $1.4 trillion. The U.S. national debt is more than $16.4 trillion.