Campaign '08

Romney makes no money promises

Speaking to reporters after taking a tour of KSC on Monday, Republican presidential candidate expressed his support for the Vision for Space Exploration but would not commit to specific funding increases that may be needed to close the post-shuttle gap, according to reports by the Orlando Sentinel and Florida Today. According to a transcript by the Sentinel, Romney said he supports “the NASA program, the president’s vision program, which consists of a manned space mission back to the moon, as well as an ongoing mission to Mars.” When asked about the gap, he said that “there’s gonna have to be an effort to either narrow the gap or to maintain technology or to provide opportunities for the key engineers and personnel so that we don’t lose the capacity to carry the program forward,” which seems to open the door to not shortening the gap if he finds there are alternatives to avoid a loss of personnel and capabilities. He added that the issue is something “I’ll look at if I’m lucky enough to get that job.”

Romney was asked about whether he supported an extra $1-2 billion/year to “remain viable”. “I’m prepared to study it very thoroughly, and I’m not prepared to make commitments without having studied things,” he said, adding that he would rely on experts both within and outside of NASA during that study process. “I do not have a budget for you on the gap,” he said in the Florida Today account. “I’m not making promises, because I shouldn’t make promises until I’ve studied something.”

14 comments to Romney makes no money promises

  • Mitt Romney is displaying a lack of knowledge and exposure to the program. He is obviously out of touch with the importance of our spaceflight industry, the intellectual capitol of the Florida spaceflight industry, and the size of the support base for our nations manned space program. tell him how important it is to “narrow the gap,” even to those outside the Florida constituency, at at you can send him a fax and an email to inform him and help his “studies” on the issue.

  • canttellya

    My respect for Romney went WAY up after reading that statement. Here’s the difference between a guy who knows how to make money and big-government types who only know how to waste it.

    actionforspace, I find it hard to believe that based on all the problems the Constellation program is in right now, you’re advocating throwing MORE money at that sinking ship. To me, it shows a zeal that is unmodified by facts. Based on the fact that the “gap” keeps widening the more NASA pursues ESAS, how is it that you think more money is the answer?

    Ask yourself where the “lack of knowledge and exposure to the program” really is.

  • Apollo went to the moon in 8 years. They had more problems (and more money) than constellation will ever have.

    NASA has built a tradition of canceling programs and new initiatives since Apollo. Constellation has problems, but none as big as the lack of confidence from politicians and inside the space community. The first step is to communicate to Romney and the rest of the candidates that it is an important and worthy endeavor worthy of funding. I am a huge fan of the direct concept. However, we can argue ourselves (literally) to death on which is the absolute best program, and find ourselves not doing anything (see the past 30 years). Or we can suck it up at some point and throw our weight behind something that isn’t perfect but will work. I’m not saying it’s perfect shouldn’t be improved along the way, but I am saying that we should break that cancellation cycle that had stymied NASA for decades.

  • canttellya

    More money is not the answer. In fact, far less money might be exactly the motivation NASA needs to clean up their act on Constellation. Or just cancel the blessed thing, which at this point might not be a bad idea either. Either way, Romney took the right approach. He was pressured to throw money at Florida to buy votes and he had the courage to say that he will think it over.

  • far less money might be exactly the motivation NASA needs

    I disagree, and cite history as my evidence.

  • chuck2200

    ESAS actually had the answer but watered it down so that it wouldn’t get noticed and compete with the desired result – the Stick. The answer was the ESAS LV-24/25 option; commonly know as DIRECT. More precisely, it’s the NLS from MSFC that NASA itself tried to get thru congress twice in the past, but couldn’t compete with the ongoing funding needs of fixing and flying Shuttle. Both NASA and the Air Force wanted this solution. It was denied because Congress wouldn’t fund BOTH Shuttle and the NLS. But it’s different this time; we are replacing Shuttle, but it’s not what Griffin wanted.

    The ESAS is seriously flawed, yes, but it actually inadvertently exposed the right answer; dust off the NLS from MSFC, upgrade it to the newer engines available (DIRECT) and go fly it with only minimal changes to the existing infrastructure.
    actionforspace said ”Apollo went to the moon in 8 years. They had more problems … than constellation will ever have.” Apollo had real leadership when it needed it; Von Braun. Constellation has Griffin. That’s a bigger problem than Apollo ever had.

  • Apollo was politically important. ESAS is not. It’s primarily pork, and more money will not fix it.

  • MarkWhittington

    Rand, to repeat myself, “pork” does not mean “spending that I happen to disagree with.” Considering the numerous space efforts breaking out in othert countries, VSE is of prime political performence.

  • pork” does not mean “spending that I happen to disagree with.

    Since I never claimed that it was, I don’t know (as is often the case) what your point is. My point is that where and by whom ESAS is built is much more important than whether or not it actually achieves its goals.

  • “Rand, to repeat myself, “pork” does not mean “spending that I happen to disagree with.”

    To the extent that the ESAS study was compromised by political considerations of keeping the Shuttle workforce employed, vice pursuing the quickest, most efficient path to getting astronauts to ISS and the Moon after Shuttle’s retirement, Mr. Simberg is right that Constellation (with the exception of COTS) is pork-like. It’s also noteworthy that a significant amount of Ares I work has been awarded on a sole-source basis rather than competitively, another characteristic in common with earmarks and pork.

    “Considering the numerous space efforts breaking out in othert [sic] countries,”

    And those would be? Evidence?


  • Al Fansome

    WHITTINGTON: Considering the numerous space efforts breaking out in othert countries, VSE is of prime political performence.


    I assume you meant “importance”.

    Whatever you meant, this claim is totally out of touch with reality.

    VSE is of such prime importance that its 2 or 3 congressional advocates (very sad) can’t even acquire a one-time increase of $1 billion.

    VSE is of such prime importance that not one leading presidential candidate — of any persuasion — has said they would increase NASA’s budget to pay for it.

    VSE is of such prime importance, that of the half dozen presidential candidates that have been pandering for votes in key states, none of them can bring themselves to REALLY PANDER for space votes in Florida.

    Not any of the many candidates who pandered on ethanol in Iowa.

    Not even Mitt Romney, who recently completed a major pandering event in Michigan, where this so-called “conservative Republican” proposed a federal program to bail out the auto industry.

    – Al

  • Vladislaw

    “Pork barrel politics refers to government spending that is intended to benefit constituents of a politician in return for their political support, either in the form of campaign contributions or votes. The term originated early in American history, when slaves were sometimes given a barrel of salt pork as a reward, and had to compete among themselves to get their share of the handout.[3] Typically it involves funding for government programs whose economic or service benefits are concentrated in a particular area but whose costs are spread among all taxpayers.”

    Citizens Against Government Waste ( CAGW) tracks pork barrel with the same zeal as a televangelist and if you look at everything NASA that they track the pork barrel spending they find generally has little to do with launching.
    It has more to do with, for example, nasa travel practices, 25 million spent for planes to shuffle employees around rather then using commerical carries.

  • […] but would not commit to anything like raising spending levels for NASA. According to the Space Politics blog, According to a transcript by the Sentinel, Romney said he supports “the NASA program, the […]

  • […] add much to the discussion, although he already has a track record from the 2008 campaign, where he said he supported the Vision for Space Exploration but declined to promise additional funding for…; he dropped out of the campaign before he could elaborate on that. Pawlenty, though, had been more […]

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