Republican Lawmakers Want Human Spaceflight, Not Climate Change Research

Republican Lawmakers Want Human Spaceflight, Not Climate Change Research

A group of Republican lawmakers have written to the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee and its Commerce-Justice-Science subcommittee recommending that funds for NASA’s climate change research satellites be shifted to human spaceflight, reports Space News today.

The letter to Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY) and Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) reportedly was signed by Reps. Pete Olson (R-TX), Bill Posey (R-FL), Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), Sandy Adams (R-FL), Rob Bishop (R-UT), and Mo Brooks (R-AL). All have districts with interests in the human spaceflight program.

Many Republican Members of Congress are skeptical that climate change is human-induced and in the past have not been particularly supportive of NASA programs focused on climate change research. Recommendations to cut those programs thus are not surprising, whether the money is reallocated to other space activities or to deficit reduction.

The House Republican leadership is expected to introduce the latest Continuing Resolution (CR) later this week, perhaps Thursday, with a vote anticipated next week. The CR would cover the rest of FY2011. Overall spending for domestic discretionary spending is slated to drop by $74 billion compared to the President’s FY2011 budget request (or $32 billion compared to FY2010 spending) in whatever is introduced, but various news sources indicate that Tea Party Republicans plan to offer amendments to cut more deeply. The Republican Study Committee, for example, wants to cut $100 billion to fulfill a Republican campaign promise. Others argue that a cut of that magnitude, which would have to be absorbed with only seven months remaining in the fiscal year, is too precipitous.

The impending House cuts have received a tepid response in the Senate so far.

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