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POLITICIANS AT IT AGAIN

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  • Paul Hoiland
    QUESTION: DO POLITICIANS ALWAYS JUST GIVE LIP SERVICE? With lawmakers scrambling to wrap up a massive spending package before Thanksgiving, NASA Administrator
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 26, 2003
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      QUESTION: DO POLITICIANS ALWAYS JUST GIVE LIP SERVICE?

      With lawmakers scrambling to wrap up a massive spending package
      before Thanksgiving, NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe complained
      Friday about efforts to strip $200 million from the international
      space station budget.

      The Senate passed a $15.3 billion budget for NASA on Tuesday, but
      not before reducing the $1.7 billion President Bush wants to spend
      on the space station.

      In July, the House approved a $15.5 billion budget for NASA,
      slightly more than President Bush had requested.

      The agency's spending plan is in the hands of Senate and House
      negotiators, who are trying to hammer out a gigantic $280 billion
      package to fund NASA and dozens of other federal agencies for the
      2004 budget year, which began on Oct. 1.

      Senate appropriators argue that a reduction in the space station
      budget is justified because NASA is getting help from its Russian
      partners, who are providing spacecraft to keep the orbiting outpost
      going while American shuttles are grounded.

      The station project also has saved some money since the Feb. 1
      Columbia shuttle accident because it has reduced the station crew
      from three to two, the Senate Appropriations Committee said in its
      report on the bill.

      With reserves of more than $250 million, the report said, NASA
      should be able to cover "this modest reduction."

      The Senate version of the spending bill also took away $20 million
      that NASA planned to spend on a project to explore the icy moons of
      Jupiter. At the same time, senators added $50 million to NASA's
      aeronautics research budget and moved some other funds around.

      One of the problems identified by the Columbia Accident
      Investigation Board was the unpredictability of NASA's fluctuating
      funding levels year to year. Yet, here we see the Government
      running things their common way in total disreguard to those
      findings. This seems to suggest that our own Politicians tend to be
      at least part of the problem that is wrong with the space program.
      It also tends to send a message that these same Politicians care
      little about the same safety and modernizing of the space program
      that they in public statements give lip service too. Perhaps it is
      time here that the American Public let their own voices be heard in
      the next elections before we run into future repeats of the Columbia
      accident or worse.
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