Congress, Lobbying, NASA

More advocacy for and against the House NASA bill

With the House not planning to take up its version of a NASA authorization bill before Wednesday, space advocates opposed to the legislation are continuing their efforts to win support for the Senate’s version. Commercial suborbital spaceflight supporters sent out emails on Sunday asking people to contact their representatives on Monday to seek their support for the Senate bill. The Space Frontier Foundation today released a video where members of the NewSpace community “support the need for a budget focused on innovation and new enterprise, not wasting money on failed projects.”

The House legislation, though, does have its supporters in Congress, who are speaking out about it. In a Houston Chronicle op-ed Saturday, Rep. Pete Olson (R-TX) expressed support for the bill, calling it “a strong bipartisan bill that preserves and improves NASA’s human space flight program, while also helping support private sector research and development in human space flight.” By contrast, he argues, the Senate bill “falls short of the House measure in clearly defining the path – and equally important – ensuring the necessary future funding for NASA’s human space exploration efforts.” As members of Congress, he concludes, “we have a duty to clarify NASA’s future and not buck our responsibility to a reluctant president.” (How exactly the president is “reluctant” on this matter isn’t clear.)

Another House member, Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT), expressed his frustration with the lack of a vote on a bill in an article Sunday in the Ogden (Utah) Standard-Examiner. Bishop told the paper that while he likes the Senate version and “could live with” the earlier House bill, “Gordon’s bill is the one he really likes best.” Bishop blames the lack of a vote on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who Bishop says “is opposed to the NASA manned space program.” (It’s uncertain just how involved Pelosi has been in this process, as previous reports have only cited the involvement of House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer.) “If the Speaker will just schedule it, we will be in great shape,” Bishop said of a vote on the bill. “If not, we’re still not dead, but we’re on life support. This is probably the most important issue we’re fighting for right now.” One wonders how many of Bishop’s colleagues, of both parties, would agree that the NASA authorization bill is their “most important issue”.

7 comments to More advocacy for and against the House NASA bill

  • Robert G. Oler

    Pete has been a dissapointment.

    The trick in leadership on a “House” level is to figure out where events are going, events that you dont have the power to affect and then shape them locally to help ones constituents.

    There are several places that Pete just failed his district.

    Over the last two years, as “The 2008″ congressman, Pete should have helped NASA JSC manage the transition from aprogram Cx that was unsustainable into something that was better for his district. There were things he could do with the move away from Cx to have made the transition less painful, and he should have had the clout to go to the boneheads who run JSC and say “I love you all, but this is reality lets be a part of it”.

    Second, Pete now could help shape where things go. Instead he rights (Or has written for him, its clearly not his work) a goofy op ed which does nothing but restate his positions, it doesnt reshape the debate.

    In the end Pete is just going to be sitting on the sidelines as the future comes and less and less JSC is a part of it.

    He had a lot of promise…regretfully he has floundered. He doesnt face significant opposition this year, but there is some out there for the future.

    Robert G. Oler

  • Googaw

    Pete is just doing what any establishment politician, Republican or Democrat, would do: protecting a large bureaucracy in his district that doesn’t want to change. He at least has to make a good show of trying to protect them or his campaign coffers dry up.

    If “Commercial” Crew moves forward, it too will create an entrenched bureaucracy, whether inside NASA itself or inside a “commercial” contractor makes no difference, that will lobby and fund a coterie of politicians in order to perpetuate itself. To or on behalf of which they will feed back big chunks of the taxpayer funds they are getting. Fed back to protect that flow of taxed and borrowed money from impertinent outsiders like me who would prefer that my children actually get to keep some of the income they earn in the future instead of having it all taken out of their W-2 to pay back the Chinese.

  • I’ll remind Pelosi that her constituency wants this moved along, along with several friends here have grown to share my enthusiasms if not for the Senate Bill per se, at least a robustly funded NASA.

    I am amazed at times by the ability of some politicians to change their views and craft imaginative and workable compromises. I’m thinking mainly of Senator Nelson, but the jump just made by Rep. Gordon is a credit to him and every stubborn American who’s had to sacrifice a bit of what they believe America to be in the hope that America can become something even more than they imagined.

    On the House appropriations committee, NASA has a number of friends, including Adam Schiff who labored so hard for commercial funding back in July.

    As for Rep Wolf on the Republican side, I quote from a July 10th meeting with the STS-132 Crew:
    “Wolf agreed that more investment was needed in math, science, creativity and imagination, and that the United States needed to maintain its leadership in space. “Once you lose it, you can’t get it back,” he said. ”

    Will it happen before elections?

  • Wodun

    Googaw wrote @ September 27th, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    If “Commercial” Crew moves forward, it too will create an entrenched bureaucracy, whether inside NASA itself or inside a “commercial” contractor makes no difference, that will lobby and fund a coterie of politicians in order to perpetuate itself.

    QFT :)

  • Beancounter from Downunder

    QFT? Sorry probably obvious but it escapes me at this point!

  • Beancounter from Downunder

    Depends on who gets “Commercial” Crew. Pick two, say Boeing and SpaceX mainly ’cause they’ve shown interest.
    Boeing want Bigalow’s business and have stated prices and SpaceX want both and has also stated prices. Boeing’s got development on a capsule underway and SpaceX has a capsule that requires only a bit of refinement and will most likely be demonstrating reliable transport next year.
    That should prevent most of the bureacracy ‘creation’ with any luck.

  • brobof

    Guessing here: Quantum Field Theory?? (Bad guess.)

    Quoted for truth. (Good guess.)

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