WASHINGTON, DCÖU.S. Rep. Dave Weldon (R-FL) yesterday joined a bipartisan group of lawmakers in calling for a meeting with President Bush to discuss the future of our nation's space program. The move comes just weeks after Congress approved a 2007 budget resolution that raided NASA's budget and gutted the manned-space initiative.
In a letter to the President, the lawmakers wrote, "We believe that a balanced, robust space program is in the national interest of the United States. However, we are concerned that America's leadership in space could be threatened by a lack of resources devoted to our space program."
Weldon, who represents thousands of workers employed at Kennedy Space Center, expressed disbelief that some of the lawmakers calling for the space summit voted for the very budget that cut NASA funding.
"Holding a space summit with the President is worthwhile," said Weldon. "But, it seems a little disingenuous to write a letter expressing concern about NASA's lack of resources, when you're voting for budgets that cut NASA funding."
"What good will a space summit do if those calling for it aren't willing to stand up and be counted when it matters most?" continued Weldon, who has repeatedly voted against budgets that have denied NASA the necessary funding.
Weldon said the proof of yesterday's letter will be whether the Democratic leaders will restore NASA's budget.
"Either the lawmakers who signed this letter will stand firm this time in rejecting cuts to NASA or today's letter to the President will be nothing more than a PR stunt to distract voters' attention from their vote to cut NASA."
Earlier this year the Senate and the House voted to cut NASA's budget by nearly $500 million. Of the 17 signatories to yesterday's letter, nine voted for the NASA budget cuts.