While both major presidential candidates have promised to increase NASA’s budgets, those promises are just that. It will be up to the next Congress to pass budgets that incorporate—or not—that additional funding, and at least one key House member is expressing his opposition not just for additional NASA funding, but for current spending levels. In an October 26 debate, Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA) said he would seek to cut back spending in a number of areas, including human spaceflight, according to a report by PolitickerMA.com:
Reducing the amount of money spent on sending humans into space would be another priority, Frank said. “Space exploration is very important and has great scientific and practical results, but sending human beings to Mars and back will cost hundreds of billions of dollars for very little scientific worth.”
Frank is already infamous in the space community for pushing for measures that would prohibit spending money on human Mars exploration. The language in the debate suggests that he might take more aggressive measures in the next Congress to slash NASA funding, particularly for programs like Constellation.