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Rep. Posey's Statement on Space Workforce Transition Memo

Press Release From: Rep. Bill Posey
Posted: Tuesday, May 4, 2010

image WASHINGTON, DC - Congressman Bill Posey (R-FL) released the following statement in response to the Task Force on Space Industry Workforce and Economic Development memo released by the White House today:

"A better transition program for space workers and our nation's continued leadership in space is to abandon the President's proposal to cancel Constellation and for NASA to continue flying the Space Shuttle to close the space flight gap," said Congressman Posey.

"In his memo, the President blames the previous Administration for eliminating thousands of high skilled jobs and outsourcing them to Russia, but makes no mention of his decision to cancel Constellation after $9 billion in investments and a successful test launch. At some point the President needs to take responsibility for his own Administration's decision to widen the space gap and cede America's leadership in space, which is the modern day military high ground.

"I am disappointed to see the memo repeat the disingenuous claim we keep hearing that NASA will get a $6 billion increase, when in reality the Administration's own budget numbers would gut the Exploration account by $5.7 billion, which is where the money needs to be spent for human space flight.

"In August of 2008 the President made clear to the nation and America's space coast that he would close the gap between Shuttle and Constellation and keep America first in space. Since making that statement, the President's actions have resulted in just the opposite. It is insulting to the people who have worked so hard to lead the world in human space exploration to have their lives put on hold for the last 14 months while the Administration figures out how to sell their policy reversal."

"Last year we had to wait for the Augustine Committee, now we have to wait for a task force while our space workforce tries to focus on the remaining launches and an uncertain future? While I welcome the President's attentiveness to workforce concerns, the activities of this task force do not change the fact that the future of America's leadership in space is not yet settled. Far from it.

"The Democrats and Republicans, Senators and Members of the House have all raised strong objections to the President's plan to terminate Constellation and it would be premature for this commission to assume the cancellation of Constellation. Even under Constellation there is a need for concerted efforts to diversify our workforce and I am hopeful that our local economic development leaders will be full participants in this initiative."

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