Congress, White House

House Democrats side with Mikulski

Key leaders of the House Science and Technology Committee issued a press release criticizing the White House for its lack of interest in Sen. Barbara Mikulski’s “space summit” proposal. The statement, by full committee chairman Bart Gordon and subcommittee chairmen Mark Udall and Nick Lampson, said they were “deeply disappointed” in the response by the White House to Mikulski’s summit idea. “We intend to work with NASA supporters on both sides of the aisle in Congress to try to give NASA the resources it will need to carry out the tasks that the nation has asked it to undertake,” they add. “However, the President’s disengagement will make that effort immeasurably more difficult.” The choice of “immeasurably” is interesting: one assumes they used that word in the sense of “extremely”. However, one might argue that the president’s “disengagement” will have an immeasurable—as in negligible—effect on the overall budgetary process.

6 comments to House Democrats side with Mikulski

  • anonymous

    Actually, the most noteworthy (at least to me) part of the press release was:

    “Rep. Lampson personally arranging for Administrator Griffin to meet with Chairman Obey on the House Appropriations Committee”

    Out of all the empty funding gestures that have been floated on the Hill this year — from calls for a White House space summit to legislation including NASA in the National Competitiveness Initiative to the ISS National Lab report to prize advertising — this is the first evidence I’ve seen that someone is pursuing a realistic strategy for achieving the White House’s budget request for NASA in FY08. Unlike most of his counterparts, Lampson appears to be earning the votes of his NASA constituents.

    Although the delay in the committee vote is omninous, this could bode well for NASA avoiding a major cut from the White House FY08 request, at least at the House committee level. (The Senate and Bush’s promised veto are another thing.) Of course, this all assumes Griffin didn’t stick his foot in his mouth during his meeting with Obey, and that Obey came away giving a darn about NASA issues.

  • John Malkin

    The Democrats will do the opposite of the Presidents desires. So this is good for NASA. I think if Bush pushed for massive NASA cuts, the Democrats would give them massive increases. I’ve had no problem with Bush staying out of the VSE.

  • Charles In Houston

    It is commendable that the Administrator, Mike Griffin, meets with Chairman Obey, but what flexibility do they have?

    There is little chance that they will find any unobligated money in the budget, so could they propose additional deficit spending?

    Could they find another program that they could take the money from?

    One thing they should discuss, but probably will not, would be a backup plan in case (not that this ever happens) the Orion is delayed, underperforms, etc.

    On a related topic, a recent editorial by Gene Kranz appeared that warned again about the coming manned flight gap where the US will not have a capability to launch people. We can rely on our friends the Russians (who may not always be so agreeable) but will have a Space Station and no independent capability to launch people to it. Maybe some discussion about the wisdom of this state could be on the agenda??

    To sum it up, how could such a meeting end on any other note than all parties bemoan the situation that they have put us in and agree to keep studying it?

    It is too much to hope that they would agree to keep flying the one proven vehicle that we have while living within their budget during development of a replacement.

  • Charles: It is too much to hope that they would agree to keep flying the one proven vehicle that we have while living within their budget during development of a replacement.

    You are right, it would be too much to hope for. Any effort to keep the Shuttle flying while simultaneously developing the infrastructure to return to Earth’s moon is doomed to financial and political failure. I used to be a strong supporter of the Shuttle, but even I bow to reality at some point. The Shuttle is too fragile to keep flying a moment longer. Ultimately, the nation has to choose between the Shuttle and anything else in human spaceflight.

    If I had been God-King of the space program after the loss of Columbia, the Shuttle would have been cancelled at that point; the remaining Station hardware would have been modified to fly on EELVs, replaced, or simply -abandoned; and the then-existing (or EELV expanded) station would have been flown more-or-less as is (which it was demonstrably capable of doing). The vast sums of money freed up would have gone into a much larger COTS-type project to fulfill of the station market, and on Mr. O’Keefe’s original VSE ideas.

    (Unfortunately, all that would have taken a God-King because it would have involved firing or disrupting the careers of much of the Shuttle workforce — a poltical non-starter.)

    — Donald

  • Dear Fellow Scientist,

    NASA’s rocket technology not for real space exploration but here is one.

    Sir, don’t be dismayed to see how little information there is on the internet. Despite that, I hope you totally understand my need for anonymity. Assuming that the technology is as effective as I say it is, releasing it to the public in all its splendor could make the world think that a) I am off my rocker, b) that I’m completely wrong or c) just some sci-fi aficionado who’s gone a bit too far.

    Sad state of affairs, but hey, that’s the price of true innovation right?


    The Inventor

  • […] Congress responded as you might expect — by directing NASA to spend no money on efforts specifically intended […]

Leave a Reply to Charles In Houston Cancel reply




You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>