POLITICO reports late Tuesday that a House GOP steering committee has recommended Rep. Ralph Hall (R-TX) chair the House Science and Technology Committee in the next Congress. That pick will be voted upon by the full House Republican caucus tomorrow, but as the article notes, the vote is seen as a formality. Hall beat out Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) to chair the committee.
The POLITICO article focuses primarily on Hall’s and other committee Republicans’ views on climate change, but on space issues a committee chaired by Hall may be a little different than one run by Rohrabacher. While both voted for the NASA authorization bill in September, Hall was skeptical of many elements of the administration’s proposal, including its commercial crew development plan; Rohrabacher was a major supporter of that program. In an op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle last week, Mojave Air and Space Port general manager Stu Witt and UC Irvine’s Greg Autry contrasted the two on that issue. Hall, they argued, “shares the idiosyncratic view that only government can safely manage manned space flight,” while Rohrabacher’s support for commercial spaceflight “fits the bill.” However, despite the wishes of Witt and Autry, it will be Hall, not Rohrabacher, running the committee in the next Congress.