An editorial in today’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution criticizes the House of Representatives for approving NASA authorization legislation last week that includes language endorsing the Vision for Space Exploration. The AJC’s complaints cover the usual ground, primarily that we can’t “afford” the VSE because of the huge budget deficits, Social Security and Medicare shortfalls, and the like. Ho-hum.
At the end, though, the AJC endorses a proposal put forward by Rep. Barney Frank during the floor debate on the bill: “There ought to be a national debate, he [Frank] said in published comments, ‘about whether or not to commit these untold billions . . . at the expense of other important programs.'” Wait… isn’t what has transpired over the last 18 months been a national debate? There’s been a lot of back-and-forth since the VSE’s introduction about its merits, from hearing rooms on Capitol Hill to the editorial pages of papers like the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. We’ve had the debate, and, at least for now, the supporters of the VSE have won in Congress. What more debate does Rep. Frank, or the AJC, want?