October 24, 2008
Dear IFPTE Member,
It is has been a hard 8 years for NASA. President Bushs initial mistake was to downsize, outsource, and undermine the technical independence of NASA's civil-servant workforce. The Republican plan was to eliminate about a fifth of its independent in-house experts and most civil-service protections. This nave ideology, that federal laboratories such as NASA should be run like a private business with the cold, untechnical perspective of a bean-counter, tragically contributed to the Columbia disaster and led to the subsequent hurried and flawed planning for President Bushs Vision for Space Exploration.
The Republican plan to ramp up NASA's responsibilities in Human Spaceflight together with their refusal to increase its resources has resulted in delays to NASA's urgent effort to develop a new set of space vehicles and in the looming threat to Americas leadership in human space exploration. It funded Human Spaceflight by sacrificing critical capabilities in Aeronautics Research, in Space, Earth, Life, and Microgravity Science, in Technology Development, and in Education. It pitted Aeronautics engineers in Cleveland, Ohio against those in Hampton, Virginia, Spaceflight Human-Systems engineers in Mt. View, California against those in Denver, Colorado, and Shuttle-Operations technicians in Titusville, Florida against software verification engineers in Fairmont, West Virginia. This scapegoating of NASA employees and pitting one group of technical workers against another must end. The next President will need to reaffirm the critical need for a strong, independent, civil-servant workforce as well as the important role of the many private-sector technical workers, academic researchers, and commercial entrepreneurs who are also a key part of NASA's aerospace family.
On November 4th, NASA employees and aerospace workers represented by IFPTE will have the opportunity to vote for a new President. We believe the attached comparison between Senators Barack Obama and John McCain will give you, an IFPTE member, a helpful summary of where the two candidates stand on NASA. I hope that you will seriously consider their positions on NASA and the importance of America's future leadership in Aerospace when you cast your ballot.
Gregory J. Junemann,
|NASA Authorization||Called for $2 billion increase in NASAs budget in August and pushed for passage of H.R. 6063, which authorizes more than $20 billion for NASA, including an extra Shuttle flight in 2010 and protection against irreversible shutdown activities (H.R. 6063 becomes law on 10/15/08);||Called for doubling Americas investment in basic research, including revitalizing NASAs Aeronautics, Science, and Technology R&D (with the increased funding levels authorized in H.R. 6063).|
Called for across-the-board spending freeze of all non-DoD, non-Veteran, and non-entitlement programs, freezing NASA below $18 billion, thus delaying Constellation, and making any Shuttle extension impossible (Town Hall meeting in Milwaukee, WI, 10/09/08)
Republican National Committee continues to attack Senator Obamas call for increasing NASAs budget and overall R&D (Obama Spend O Meter www.gop.com/obamaspendometer.htm) Co-authored letter to President Bush urging prevention of irreversible Shuttle shutdown (McCain, Hutchison, & Vitter letter, 8/25/08);
|NASA Appropriations||Authored letter to Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid urging extension of NASA Soyuz-purchase waiver; prevention of irreversible Shuttle shutdown; funding for an extra Shuttle flight (9/22/08);
Letter prompts inclusion of NASA Soyuz waiver in FY09 Consolidated Security, Disaster Relief, and Continuing Appropriations Act (becomes law on 9/30/08);
Letter prompts inclusion of $250 million in extra emergency appropriations for NASA human spaceflight in S. 3604 (killed by Republican filibuster on 9/26/08).
|Did not oppose the Republican filibuster of S. 3604, consistent with his instinct to cut NASA (e.g. voted in favor of transferring $150 million from NASA to pay for the jailing of illegal aliens, Senate Vote 367, 10/16/07).|
After all pre-election appropriations opportunities expire leaving no chance to increase NASAs funding before FY09 starts, he flip flops and calls for more NASA funding (Wall Street Journal, 10/17/08).
|Federal Worker Issues||Co-sponsored S. 206, which would repeal anti-civil-servant Social Security penalties;
Opposes Bush anti-civil-servant outsourcing policies;
Opposes privatization of Social Security.
|Voted for Bushs 2006 Social Security Privatization Plan (Senate Vote 68, 3/16/06);|
Voted for a base realignment and closure (BRAC) process to allow privatization-in-place without letting federal employees compete for their own jobs (Senate Vote 286, 9/25/01).