When Nick Lampson, a former congressman who once chaired the space subcommittee of the House Science Committee, won the Democratic primary for the 14th congressional district south of Houston in May, he didn’t know who his Republican opponent would be, since no candidate won a majority of the vote. Now he knows who he’ll be running against: Randy Weber defeated Felicia Harris in the Republican primary runoff Tuesday night. Weber had the support of Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), who currently holds the seat but is retiring. Weber’s campaign website is silent on space issues, at least so far.
Every fiscal year there is one certainty: much, if not all, of the federal government will operate under stopgap funding bill, or continuing resolution (CR), for weeks or months. That will be true as fiscal year 2013 starts, as congressional leaders announced Tuesday plans for a six-month CR. The deal avoids the risk of a government shutdown during the final weeks of the 2012 campaign, but also takes off any pressure to complete specific FY13 appropriations bills until perhaps the new Congress takes office in January. (Of course, the threat of sequestration, which would go into effect in January, is the wild card in all of this.) The House passed its version of a Commerce, Justice, and Science appropriations bill, which includes NASA, in May; the full Senate has yet to act on its version, which cleared the Senate Appropriations Committee in April.