From: House Appropriations Committee
Posted: Friday, April 8, 2005
Letter from Reps Zoe Lofgren and Mike Honda to Rep. Frank Wolf, Chair and Rep. Mollohan, Ranking member of the House Appropriations Committee Subcommittee on Science, State, Justice, and Commerce, and Related Agencies
As you begin deliberations on the Fiscal Year 2006 Science, Justice, State, and Commerce Appropriations bill, we write to bring to your attention a number of important issues that have arisen within the National Aeronautics and Space Administration since the agency was granted unrestrained transfer authority in the FY05 Omnibus Appropriations bill.
This transfer authority has negatively impacted a number of programs at NASA and is crippling many of the research centers, including Ames Research Center in Santa Clara County, California. Santa Clara is in the heart of Silicon Valley, a region that continues to be one of our nation's most vibrant economic engines. Collaboration among businesses, local community leaders, and the NASA Ames Research Center has many positive scientific, technical, and economic impacts on Silicon Valley and the nation. We gain much of the basic knowledge that will be required in order to successfully send humans to the Moon and Mars, such as how the space environment will impact the physical well-being and performance capabilities of those making the trip, from the research programs conducted by the NASA Centers such as Ames. The abuse of transfer authority to drain funding from this work endangers the ultimate success of the mission.
We urge you to give your careful consideration the following proposals that would help ensure that the work of Ames and the other NASA Research Centers, which provides the essential foundation for the President's Vision for Space Exploration, is not undermined in the interest of short sighted shifting of critical long-term R&D funds into hastily planned exploration activities, without any congressional oversight. As current (Honda) and former (Lofgren) Members of the Science Committee's Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee, we plan to pursue these objectives when the committee produces a NASA reauthorization bill, but are painfully aware that such a bill will likely not be signed into law this year, and it is essential that some of these actions be taken in short order to the capabilities of the agency will be severely compromised permanently.'
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