A day after Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) formally declared his interest in becoming the next chairman of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, another candidate threw his hat into the ring. On Thursday, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) declared his interest in the position, as expected, joining Sensenbrenner and Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX).
Rohrabacher, whose experience on the committee includes eight years as chairman of the space subcommittee, said space would be a priority for him if selected as chairman, specifically, “making certain NASA has a real, achievable plan for near-term human space exploration.” Rohrabacher is best known as a staunch advocate of commercial space and critical of big government programs, including the Space Launch System (SLS). In past statements, such as a press release about the administration’s fiscal year 2013 budget request, he likened the SLS to the Titanic and said that “continuing to shovel resources into the SLS money pit is a travesty.”
Rohrabacher also makes the case in his statement for the chairmanship by noting his experience on the committee: “Going into the 113th Congress, Rep. Rohrabacher will have the most years of active experience on the Committee, excluding those who have already been Chairman.” Of course, one of the other members seeking the chairmanship, Sensenbrenner, served as chairman of the committee from 1997 until 2001.