From: Rep. Dave Weldon
Posted: Wednesday, January 31, 2007
If Enacted, Would Be Worst Cuts to Space Exploration Since 1993
Urges Senate to Reverse Irresponsible Choice by House Dems
In a fiscal year 2007 budget released today, the new Democrat majority proposed sweeping cuts to NASA's budget that could jeopardized the future of space exploration. U.S. Rep. Dave Weldon, M.D. (R-FL), who represents many workers from NASA and Kennedy Space Center, called the cuts draconian, saying the Democrat leadership is using NASA and our nation's space program as a piggy bank for other liberal spending priorities.
"The raid on NASA's budget has begun in earnest. The cuts announced today by House Democrat leaders, if approved by Congress, would be nearly $400 million less than NASA's current budget," said Weldon.
"Clearly, the new Democrat leadership in the House isn't interested in space exploration. Their omnibus proposal lists hundreds of new increases, including a $1.3 billion increase‹over 40% for a Global AIDS fund, all at the expense of NASA."
Much of the proposed cuts would come from NASA's Exploration budget, which includes funding for the new Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV), the future replacement for the current shuttle fleet. According to Weldon, these particular cuts would jeopardize thousands of jobs in Florida, Alabama, and Texas.
Weldon today led a bi-partisan group of colleagues, including Reps. Ralph Hall (D-TX), and Tom Feeney (R-FL), in offering two amendments to the bill that would restore NASA's funding.
"Rank-and-file Democrats and Republicans alike are aghast at the treatment the Democrat Leadership has shown to NASA. To gut the exploration account in particular is clearly meant to be a stick in the eye to the President and the initiative he announced three years ago."
Speaker Pelosi is not expected to allow any amendments to today's omnibus bill, continuing the closed legislative process that has plagued the current Congress since its opening day. Consequently, Weldon said the future of NASA funding will likely hinge on the Senate.
"The Senate leadership, including Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), has yet to speak to the draconian cuts being proposed. I hope they're alerted to the message the House sent today and will propose funding in line with NASA's overall mission and the President's original request to ensure a smooth transition to the new launch vehicle."
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