When Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi suggested that she wasn’t a “big fan” of human spaceflight and that any additional spending proposed for NASA would have to be compared to alternative projects “in terms of job creation”, it’s not surprising it didn’t sit well with space supporters, particularly in places where NASA does provide a lot of jobs. An example is a Florida Today editorial on Friday, which declared that Pelosi “clearly doesn’t get it” on the importance of the space exploration. “Pelosi is flat-out wrong in her skepticism about NASA’s job creation power,” the editorial claimed. It added: “She should come to the Space Coast to see for herself what’s about to happen unless President Obama and Congress support retooling NASA,” a reference to potential job losses in Florida’s Space Coast once the shuttle is retired.
Late Friday Congresswoman Suzanne Kosmas (D-FL) issued a press release responding to Pelosi’s comments, including a copy of a letter Kosmas said she sent to Pelosi. The letter outlined some familiar economic and workforce issues linked to NASA, both in Florida and nationwide. “I urge you to join me in supporting a robust human space flight program that will provide long-lasting scientific, technological and economic benefits for our nation,” Kosmas’s letter to Pelosi concluded.
Congressman Parker Griffith also responded to Pelosi’s comments on Friday in Huntsville, where he spoke to Marshall Space Flight Center employees. “I appreciate the Speaker’s comments. I think as she informs herself more, becomes more acquainted with manned space flight, sees that we are in a space race with China, she’ll understand that this is not just about an event that takes place on TV in someone’s living room,” he told WAAY-TV there after his MSFC appearance. “This is about dominance of national security, research and development, space exploration, and manned space exploration is absolutely critically important. And I think as she understands that, knows a little bit more about it, I think her comments will change.”
We’ll see how persuasive a couple of freshmen members can be with the speaker…