Will President Obama mention space in tonight’s State of the Union address? Space advocates are hopeful yet doubtful NASA will get a shoutout in the address. “I don’t know that he’s going to talk about NASA in the State of the Union,” Sen. Bill Nelson tells Florida Today. The two representatives who serve Florida’s Space Coast region, Suzanne Kosmas and Bill Posey, hope that he’ll mention space in his speech.
Nelson, though, did release a statement about the prospects for NASA funding given word of a freeze on non-security discretionary spending. “Will freezing the budget impact the space program? No – it shouldn’t, as long as the president is committed to a robust space program and keeping America first in science and technology,” Nelson’s statement reads, as published by Central Florida News 13. “Such a freeze would be on the overall budget within which some agencies could get more and some less.”
Meanwhile, the House member who chairs the appropriations subcommittee whose jurisdiction includes NASA will be able to work on the FY11 budget without worrying about a criminal investigation. The Justice Department has closed a four-year investigation into the finances of Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-WV) without filing charges. Mollohan chairs the Commerce, Justice, and Science subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee. There had been speculation that he would not seek reelection this year, and although he did file papers to run again last week he’s expected to face a strong fight in the general election after not facing a Republican challenger in 2008.