Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT) continues to remain concerned about the effects the cancellation of Constellation will have on workers in his district who planned to build the solid rocket motors for Ares 1 and Ares 5. However, in comments to the Davis County Clipper, his arguments at least stretch the bounds of logic. “If measures are taken to cut these programs, it only helps open the door wider for such rogue nations as North Korea and Iran to continue their missile development programs, Bishop said,” the article states, apparently an extension of concerns that cancelling Ares would hurt the nation’s solid rocket motor industrial base and thus impact the Defense Department. And a quote from Bishop: “Common sense tells us we should not turn the space above us over to the Russians and Chinese.”
Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) also continues to express his concerns about the cancellation of Constellation, according to the Birmingham Business Journal:
Shelby wants help from senators in Florida, California and Texas to protect the NASA programs that provide jobs in those states. He challenged Obama to find other projects to cut from if NASA is to lose funding.
“If they are going to end that, they need to look at everything,” Shelby said.
Of course, NASA, at the topline level, isn’t losing funding: its budget is growing to $19 billion in the FY11 request and up to $21 billion by FY15. (The same article also mentions Shelby’s concerns about deficit spending, while noting the earmarks he secured for Alabama colleges.)
Rep. Suzanne Kosmas (D-FL), meanwhile, has a solution in the works for the policy problems she sees in the administration’s NASA plan: extend the shuttle. Florida Today reports that Kosmas is working on legislation that would authorize 1-2 shuttle flights a year through 2015. (This sounds at least somewhat similar to the Posey/Wasserman-Schultz HR 1962 bill introduced last year, which has made no progress since its introduction; it’s not clear how this would be any more successful.) The bill would also direct NASA to examine how to salvage a heavy-lift booster from the remnants of Constellation and also report to Congress on “specific safety requirements” for commercial human spaceflight. “Congress is responding to the president’s lack of specificity, lack of an action plan, lack of vision and direction,” Kosmas said.
Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO), who previously expressed his opposition to cancelling Constellation, has gotten three colleagues from Colorado to join him. Reps. Ed Perlmutter (D), Doug Lamborn (R), and Betsy Markey (D) signed a letter to President Obama asking him to reconsider. “While we are encouraged by the FY11 net increase in NASA funding with a new focus on building international partnerships and science education, we believe the Constellation program should remain a national priority.”
Rep. Pete Olson (R-TX) vowed earlier this week to fight for Constellation in Congress as the FY11 budget works its way through the House. “Congress is going to challenge this plan,” the Houston Chronicle quotes Olson as saying at a meeting Wednesday. However, that’s mild compared to what one potential Democratic challenger says should be done. “If you want to save NASA, call for the impeachment of Obama,” said Kesha Rogers, a candidate in the Democratic primary in the 22nd district, which Olson now represents. Rogers is linked to Lyndon LaRouche, who made a similar call for the president’s impeachment because of his NASA policy earlier this month.