Congress, NASA

Will Obey obey this request?

On Tuesday the full House Appropriations Committee is scheduled to take up the markup of the Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS) appropriations that the subcommittee handled last week, slashing several hundred million from the administration’s proposal and calling a “time-out” on exploration. In a bid to try and reverse that cut, two members have put out a bipartisan appeal to the committee leadership. Reps. Suzanne Kosmas (D-FL) and Bill Posey (R-FL), who represent adjacent districts on Florida’s Space Coast, asked Committee chairman David Obey and ranking member Jerry Lewis to restore funding to NASA. “[W]e urge you to increase topline funding for NASA to at least match the President’s request of $18.686 billion and to provide additional funding for the development of our next generation exploration capabilities,” they write in the letter, which also went to the chair and ranking member of the CJS subcommittee.

Later in the letter: “We believe the current level of funding as passed by the CJS subcommittee is inadequate for the future of our human space flight program.” They also asked the committee leadership for its assurance that, once Review of U.S. Human Space Flight Plans Committee (aka the Augustine Committee) issues its recommendations, “the Congress will also work to provide appropriate resources later this summer and not wait until next year’s budget cycle.”

Will this be effective? Another way of asking the question is this: how persuaded would Congressman Obey, who has been skeptical of NASA exploration programs in the past, be by a request from two freshman members of Congress, one of which from the minority party? At the very least, it makes Reps. Kosmas and Posey appear hard at work protecting the interests of their constituents.

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