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Senate Appropriators De-Fund NASA RIF Plans

Press Release From: IFPTE
Posted: Thursday, July 20, 2006

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Senator Mikulski Leads the Way in Protecting Workforce, Adding Monies for Key NASA Programs

Silver Spring, MD The International Federation of Professional & Technical Engineers (IFPTE), NASA's largest Union representing federal employees, applauded last Thursday's action by Senate Appropriators to include a substantial overall budget increase for NASA, as well as clear workforce protection in the NASA Fiscal Year 2007 (FY07) Appropriations bill.

While working with Congress on NASA workforce and funding matters last week, IFPTE President Gregory Junemann and IFPTE NASA Council President Dr. Wesley Darbro successfully fostered a Resolution to passage during the union's 55th Convention in Toronto, Canada. The Resolution, which was passed unanimously by all IFPTE delegates, calls on Congress to increase funding for key NASA programs and to reject any prospective RIF activities at NASA. Dr. Igor Eberstein, Executive Vice President of Local 29 at the Goddard Space Flight Center, played a key role in advocating for these IFPTE priorities on Capitol Hill.

IFPTE President Junemann provided the following comments in response to the action taken last week by Senate Appropriators:

"On this anniversary of NASA's first triumphant landing on the moon, we at IFPTE would like to express our deep appreciation that the Senate appropriators acknowledged our key concerns and took decisive steps to remedy them. The extra $1 billion appropriated in this measure was desperately needed to address the budgetary crisis at NASA created by the confluence of the Columbia and Katrina disasters and the under- funded mandate to support the Vision for Space Exploration. Senators Mikulski and Hutchinson have shown great leadership by recognizing the shortcomings of the Administration's meager budget request for NASA. Even in a time of tight budgetary constraints, it is unwise to drive NASA to squander its crown jewels and seed corn to pay for short-term budgetary shortfalls. We look forward to this $1 billion and an addition $1 billion in FY08 so that Administrator Griffin will have the resources necessary to move forward with the Agency's ambitious and inspiring manned space-exploration programs, while also keeping its Aeronautics & Science programs at the cutting edge.

"In closing I would like to extend a personal note of thanks to Senator Mikulski, who is not only one of NASA's staunchest supporters in Congress but is also a leader for working American's throughout the nation. The workforce protection language put forth by Senator Mikulski to defund any layoffs in FY07 is an essential component of the bill's effort to protect NASA's long-term institutional knowledge and capabilities from short-term expedient budget planning. The key to NASA's future success is to retain its current workforce while it recruits and trains the next generation of the best and brightest young scientists and engineers. This will only be possible if the Administration ceases its divisive and counter-productive layoff threats and shows the nation's youth that NASA is a great place for a stable, productive, and exciting career as a scientist or engineer.

"Senator Mikulski deserves a huge note of appreciation for her tireless advocacy for NASA and her understanding that NASA's core strength and future success come from its dedicated and talented workforce."

As this bill makes its way to the Senate floor and on to conference, IFPTE will continue to work with Congressional Appropriators advocating that the strong workforce protection and adequate funding levels included within the Senate bill are ultimately reflected in the final Conference Report.

For further information or inquiries, please contact Matthew Biggs (mbiggs@ifpte.org or 240-535-3321).

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