Earlier this month a group of fiscal conservatives in the House put forward a budget resolution proposal that, according to an article in today’s issue of The Hill, “was as nearly identical as possible to the 1995 budget resolution” during the heyday of the “Contract with America”, with sharp cuts on federal spending. However, unlike in 1995, a majority of Republicans in the House—134—voted against the resolution, including retiring Congressman Tom DeLay. Why did he vote against the resolution?
DeLay said he voted against the conservatives’ budget because it would have hurt the space program based in his district. He agreed with the conservative principles but couldn’t vote for a budget “that would have crippled NASA while giving China’s military-run space program the go-ahead to make the next giant leaps,” said DeLay spokeswoman Shannon Flaherty.
“This budget would have devastated our space program, and no conservative should feel comfortable voluntarily locking our nation out of space and making us dependent on foreign countries to access the international space station.”
Readers may recall that the perceived threat posed by China to the US in space was a key issue in a subcommittee hearing of the House Appropriations Committee on the NASA budget two months ago. At that time the sub, whose membership includes DeLay, committee asked NASA to compile a report within 30 days on the Chinese space program and goals, and planned to hold another hearing on the topic timed to coincide with its release. It’s now been 60 days, with no sign of the report, nor another hearing on the topic by the subcommittee. And DeLay is scheduled to leave Congress in early June.