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Congressmen Kucinich and LaTourette Send Bipartisan Letter In Support Of Higher Funding For Aeronautics In 2006 NASA Budget

Press Release From: U.S. House of Representatives
Posted: Friday, October 28, 2005

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Letter Calls For $906 Million For Aeronautics, A Moratorium On Reductions In Force And Funding For Space Life Science

Letter To Conference Committee On NASA Funding 

Washington, Oct 25 -

As the House and Senate prepare to hold a Conference Committee on the spending bill that determines NASA's budget, Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich (D-OH) and Congressman Steven LaTourette (R-OH) spearheaded a bipartisan letter calling for $906 million for aeronautics in the 2006 NASA budget. Aeronautics research is at the center of work done at NASA Glenn Research Facility located in Brook Park, Ohio.

The letter calls for the higher of two funding levels passed by the House and Senate this year.

Besides Kucinich and LaTourette, Ohio Representatives Robert Ney (R-OH), Tim Ryan (D-OH), Jean Schmidt (R-OH), Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-OH), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Ted Strickland (D-OH), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Michael Turner (R-OH) and Paul Gillmor (R-OH) signed the letter.

The letter, sent today to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Science, State, Commerce, Justice and Related Agencies, states:

Dear Chairman Wolf and Ranking Member Mollohan:

As the conferees begin work on the FY 06 Science, State, Justice and Commerce and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, we request your consideration of the following funding priorities for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). These provisions will have a direct beneficial effect on the NASA Field Centers, which collectively form the backbone of the world-class work performed at NASA.

We support the House approved funding levels for aeronautics of $906 million. The $47 million that would be lost by using the Senate approved funding level of $859 million will be critical to maintaining a healthy aeronautics infrastructure. A strong NASA aeronautics program is essential to our national security, aircraft safety, and national economy.

We support a moratorium on reductions in force (RIF) for FY 06. Both the House and the Senate have supported a RIF moratorium until at least 2007 in the authorization bill. However, it appears the conference on these authorization bills will not be completed prior to the passage of the appropriations bill. Therefore, the appropriations bill should reflect the strong support for a RIF moratorium, which allows for the prerequisite crafting and implementation of a national aeronautics policy and a long-term workforce plan.

We support funding for Space Life Science at FY 05 levels. The likely primary cause of mission failure in any long-term mission to the Moon or Mars is human failure (either human error or health crisis) and both human and animal research performed in space is needed to mitigate this risk. Furthermore, research in gravitational biology is not only important for astronaut health and safety, but also for medical breakthroughs on Earth (such as better osteoporosis treatments). If funds cannot be specifically set aside for Space Life Science, we recommend that the committee include report language stating that NASA shall maintain its current level of effort in Space Life Science.

Together, these requests will help keep NASA's field centers strong as they respond to the nation's critical aerospace R&D needs. Without these protections, NASA stands to lose its world-class scientists, engineers, and facilities. These unique in-house capabilities are the reason for NASA's monumental successes and will be critical for mission success in the future.

Thank you for your consideration of our request.

Besides the Ohio Delegation, Representatives Michael Honda (D-CA), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Bob Etheridge (D-NC), David Price (D-NC), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Tom Lantos (D-CA), Michael Sodrel (R-IN), Ellen Tauscher (D-CA), Shelia Jackson-Lee (D-TX), C.A. "Dutch" Ruppersberger (D-MD), Fortney "Pete" Stark (D-CA), Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Rob Simmons (R-CT).

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