Congress, NASA

Bolden makes the rounds

NASA administrator nominee Charles Bolden is taking the next step towards confirmation by starting to meet with senators. Bolden met Wednesday with at least two members of the Senate: Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) and Jim DeMint (R-SC), both members of the Senate Commerce Committee. In a press release after the meeting, DeMint praised Bolden, a native of Columbia, SC. “I was impressed with his knowledge of NASA, and I am confident he will provide valuable leadership to the agency at a critical time in its history,” DeMint said in the statement. “I look forward to supporting General Bolden’s confirmation and working with him to improve NASA in the years to come.”

Hutchison, who heaped praise on Bolden the day the White House nominated him, kept that up in comments after her meeting with the nominee, saying he should be “easily confirmed and quickly confirmed”. She added, according to Florida Today: “He has a great history as an astronaut, and he know NASA, and he knows what can be done. He’s also been a manager, and I think that he will be an excellent administrator of NASA.”

Hutchison also used the opportunity to criticize cuts to NASA’s budget approved yesterday by the House Appropriations Committee, calling them “destructive”. “Having people in space is how we have come so far and have really been able to dominate space,” she said. Hutchison also noted that she supports extending the shuttle to deal with the US government human spaceflight gap, but “she acknowledged Bolden does not agree with this suggestion,” according to the AP.

According to The Hill article linked to above, Hutchison said that the Commerce Committee will “likely” vote on Bolden’s nomination next week, although no hearing has been scheduled (the two “Nominations Hearings” currently on the committee’s online calendar for the 16th are for other positions.)

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