During a town hall-style campaign stop Thursday in Ocala, Florida, Republican vice presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan was asked what a Romney administration would do for NASA. As reported by The Hill, Ryan used the question to criticize the Obama Administration’s space policy—or, in his view, the lack thereof:
“The Obama administration came in and they inherited a plan for NASA from the Bush administration. They had a plan for space. They jettisoned that plan,” Ryan said. “They put it on, basically got rid of that plan. Now we have effectively no plan. We are not putting people in space anymore.”
Ryan noted that NASA now sends astronauts to space aboard Russian spacecraft, and transitioned into an attack on the looming sequestration deal that could cut defense spending.
“This administration, in my judgment, misunderstands the critical national security value that a space program has for our national security as part of our defense of our nation,” Ryan said.
It’s worth noting that while “NASA now sends astronauts to space aboard Russian spacecraft”, that situation would have existed under the Bush Administration’s Vision for Space Exploration, which originally projected a gap of up to four years between the retirement of the Space Shuttle in 2010 and the introduction of a new system by 2014.
As for what Romney and Ryan would do in space policy, Ryan repeated earlier plans to bring together a panel of experts to determine a plan for NASA, WMFE-FM reported:
“Our plan is to put together a plan for NASA, so that they have a plan,” said Ryan. “Bring the stakeholders in – the private sector, the Pentagon, NASA – and, like the last administration, put together a plan for NASA, and that plan is part of our vital national security interests.”