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Florida Democratic Party: McCain's Low Road on NASA

Press Release From: Florida Democratic Party
Posted: Saturday, August 2, 2008

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NEWS FROM THE FLORIDA DEMOCRATIC PARTY

For Immediate Release: August 2, 2008

Once again, John McCain and his campaign have decided to take the low road rather than defend his own record on NASA issues, which Florida Today called "downright schizophrenic." Not only has McCain voted to take funding from NASA to fund other priorities, but his "fantasy" plan to pay for making the Bush's tax cuts permanent by freezing discretionary funding and vetoing every bill with earmarks would cost the Mars mission millions.

Here are the facts on John McCain's record on NASA funding:

MCCAIN HAS VOTED TO CUT NASA FUNDING TO PAY FOR OTHER PRIORITIES

McCain's 2007 Vote For An Amendment To Reimburse Local And State Governments For The Cost Of Jailing Illegal Immigrants Would Have Been Paid For By Reducing NASA Funding. McCain voted against Mikulski, D-Md., motion to table (kill) the Ensign, R-Nev., amendment no. 3295 that would provide an additional $150 million for the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program, which reimburses local and state governments for the cost of jailing illegal immigrants. It would be offset by a reduction of the same amount from the NASA science, aeronautics and exploration account. [Vote 367, HR 3093, 10/16/07, Motion agreed to 68-25: R 28-19; D 38-6 (ND 34-5, SD 4-1); I 2-0]

1995: McCain Voted To Take Funding From NASA Research To Fund Education. McCain voted for an amendment to restore $63 billion in cuts from the education account by capping federal employee bonuses and by cutting the intelligent vehicle program, NASA research and development for commercial aircraft, new federal building construction and the executive branch air carrier fleet. (CQ) McCain: Y [1995 Senate Vote #185, 5/24/1995]

MCCAIN EARMARKS CLAIM WOULD COSTS MARS MISSION MORE THAN $20 MILLION.

McCain Said He Would Veto "Every Bill With Earmarks," If Elected... "The only power of government that could stop them was the power of veto, and it was rarely used. If that authority is entrusted to me, I will use the veto as needed, and as the Founders intended. I will veto every bill with earmarks, until the Congress stops sending bills with earmarks. I will seek a constitutionally valid line-item veto to end the practice once and for all." [McCain Remarks Carnegie Mellon University, 4/15/08]

2008 $1,645,000.00 In The FY2008 Commerce/State/Justice Appropriations Bill: Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, to develop a cost effective nuclear power system to support the long-range objectives of NASA for missions to the moon, to Mars and to deep space (NASA)[Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW.org) Pigbooks, FY95-FY08]

2003 $19,000,000.00 In The FY2003 Veterans Affairs/Housing Appropriations Bill: Mars program to cover recent cost increases (NASA)[Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW.org) Pigbooks, FY95-FY08]

MCCAIN'S RHETORIC ON NASA FUNDING "DOWNRIGHT SCHIZOPHRENIC."

McCain Proposed Balancing The Budget While Cutting Taxes By Freezing Discretionary Funding For Programs Like NASA. Sen. McCain's economic plan aims to balance the national budget within four years while also cutting taxes by freezing all discretionary funding for programs like NASA for one year. [McCain Economic Plan, June 2008]

According to the Durango Herald, "Sen. John McCain delivered an updated plan for the economy Monday that calls for balancing the national budget within four years by freezing most federal programs... McCain's plan includes... [a] continuation of the Bush tax cuts... McCain said he can cut taxes and balance the budget by freezing all "discretionary" spending for one year except for the military and veterans' budgets. Discretionary spending pays for a broad range of programs, from the State Department to NASA to the Forest Service to federal courts." [Durango Herald Online, 7/8/08]

June 2008: McCain Says He Is Prepared to Increase Discretionary Funding. When asked if he'd be willing to spend taxpayer money on continued shuttle missions he said, "Yes, I'd be willing to spend more taxpayer dollars. [Orlando Press Sentinel, June 6, 2008]

Florida Today Editorial: McCain's NASA stance 'downright schizophrenic.' A Florida Today Editorial observes McCain's 180 degree shift regarding his NASA policy, characterizing it as "downright schizophrenic." [Florida Today, 6/13/08]

NASA CUTS COST FLORIDA JOBS

15,000 Florida Jobs, Including 4,000 At NASA, Could Be Lost When The Space Agency Shuts Down Its Manned Space Operations Until 2014. NASA's plans to shut down its manned spaceflight operations until the new constellation program begins in 2014 could put 4,000 jobs in jeopardy, while indirectly 15,000 jobs could be lost due to the ensuing slump in the Brevard County economy. Central Florida News reported "In just three years, NASA plans to shut down its manned spaceflight operations until the new constellation program comes on-line around 2014. That could put 4,000 jobs at the Kennedy Space Center in jeopardy. Indirectly, 15,000 jobs could be lost, thanks to a slump in the Brevard County economy." [Central Florida News, October 2007]

A Recession Occurred In Brevard County After The Apollo Program Was Ditched In The 1970s. Central Florida News 13 reported that "... Oviedo Congressman Tom Feeney [R] and State Representative Thad Altman [R] are trying to soften the blow. Tuesday, they met with Governor Charlie Crist, in search of incentives that could help prevent the kind of recession Brevard had after the Apollo program was ditched in the 1970s." [Central Florida News 13, 10/9/07]

2007: McCain Voted Against, Nelson and Martinez Voted For, Obama Missed Vote For Funding NASA and NOAA. McCain voted against passage of the bill that would appropriate $56 billion in fiscal 2008 for the departments of Commerce and Justice and other agencies such as NASA and the National Science Foundation. It would provide $24.3 billion for the Justice Department and $7.4 billion for the Commerce Department. It would appropriate $6.6 billion for the FBI and $5.6 billion for the federal prison system. The bill would fund NASA at $17.5 billion, the National Science Foundation at $6.6 billion and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration at $4.2 billion. As amended, it would add $1 billion in emergency spending for NASA for costs associated with returning the space shuttle fleet to service after the loss of the Columbia in 2003. [Vote 372, HR 3093, 10/16/07, Passed 75-19: R 28-19; D 45-0 (ND 40-0, SD 5-0); I 2-0.]

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