I read this back in the 1980s-1990s in an anthology. It was a short story.
An unmanned cargo spaceship malfunctions and is on a collision course with Earth. Due to the relative velocity the collision will devastate the US Eastern Seaboard. An emergency meeting is called to figure out how to deal with the problem.
The chief in charge of space traffic control angrily tells the leaders that he had been warning about this possibility for years, but the leaders kept ignoring him. But he has solved the problem anyway.
Unbeknownst to the leaders, he had created an interceptor spacecraft that would knock the runaway cargo ship off course. Earth has been saved!
But since the chief had to fund all this with a hidden budget, there were costs. The interceptor was manned, and the brave people on the ship would die in space. It was a suicide mission.
The chief informs the leaders that the resulting public relations nightmare is their problem.
This is NOT "Sound Decision" by Robert Silverberg and Randall Garrett.