Houston area members of Congress are continuing to complain about NASA’s decision not to award the city with a retired shuttle, nearly two weeks after NASA announced the sites that will host a retired orbiter. In an op-ed in the Houston Chronicle on Sunday, Reps. Gene Green (D-TX) and John Culberson (R-TX) complain that the oversight “is more than just a disappointment – it’s an insult.” Interestingly, while they note they signed a letter to NASA administrator Charles Bolden asking him why Houston was left out, they make no mention of the two bills introduced in the House since the decision, HR 1536 and HR 1590, seeking to overturn the decision. (Green is a cosponsor of HR 1536, while Culberson has signed to neither.) Instead, the two appear to be more focused on future opportunities: “we will continue to fight to ensure that Houston will continue to guide humankind further into the wondrous realm of space by supplying our nation with a robust human space exploration program that is essential to our national security and leadership in the world.”
At a luncheon Monday in Huntsville, Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) complained about a lack of support for NASA from the White House. “I am afraid that NASA does not have a friend in the White House,” he said, the Huntsville Times reported, when asked whether NASA will push to have the new Space Launch System (SLS) heavy-lifter in service by 2016. Brooks added that Bolden “did nothing to fight a $300 million budget cut to the space agency.” What budget cut he’s referring to isn’t clear: the final FY11 continuing resolution (which Brooks voted for earlier this month) funded NASA at about $240 million below FY10 levels, and more than $500 million below the FY11 request. The Times article also reports that Brooks said the Huntsville area “fared well out of the recent 2011 budget crisis”, including $1.8 billion for the SLS, while also calling for state legislators to pass a resolution for a constitutional convention to consider a balanced-budget amendment.