Rep. Frank Wolf, Chair of NASA/NOAA Appropriations Subcommittee, To Retire

Rep. Frank Wolf, Chair of NASA/NOAA Appropriations Subcommittee, To Retire

Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) announced today that he will retire from Congress at the end of next year.  He chairs the House Appropriations Commerce-Justice-Science (CJS) subcommittee that funds NASA and NOAA among other departments and agencies.

Wolf’s influence on NASA and NOAA is huge.  It is not only related to budgetary matters, as critical as those are, but Wolf also is the force behind the decision to prohibit NASA and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) from engaging in any activities related to space cooperation with China unless certain conditions are met, for example.  He is a strident critic of the Chinese government, but stresses that he is a staunch supporter and admirer of the Chinese people.   He is one of a vocal contingent of House members who oppose the Chinese government and therefore cooperating with China on space or other matters.  Whether his replacement as appropriations subcommittee chair will hold a different view remains to be seen.

Wolf was first elected to represent the 10th district of Virginia, just outside Washington, DC, in 1980.  He was just one of several House members announcing their decisions today not to run for reelection.  With the House finished for the year and activities ramping up for the 2014 elections, this is not a surprising time for incumbents to make their intentions known.

Rep. Tom Latham, who chairs a different House Appropriations Subcommittee (Transportation-HUD), also said that he will not run for reelection, opening two slots on the powerful Appropriations Committee.   Latham’s subcommittee funds the FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation.

Rep. Jim Matheson (D-UT) was a third House member announcing his retirement today.  More such announcements would not be surprising in the days and weeks ahead.

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