Today’s Tidbits: May 7, 2018

Today’s Tidbits: May 7, 2018

Here are’s tidbits for May 7, 2018:  rescission package sent to Congress; ULA workers on strike; Ellen Ochoa joins National Science Board.  Be sure to check our website for feature stories and follow us on Twitter (@SpcPlcyOnline) for more news and live tweeting of events.

White House Sends Rescission Package to Congress

OMB Director Mick Mulvaney.

The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is asking Congress to take back — rescind — $15.4 billion that it previously appropriated.  A few weeks ago, OMB was planning to ask Congress to “claw back” part of the $1.3 trillion it appropriated for the current fiscal year (FY2018), but Senate leaders made clear they would not consider any such request because the final FY2018 funding bill was the result of lengthy bipartisan negotiations and a deal is a deal.

Instead, OMB is asking Congress to rescind money appropriated in earlier years that still has not been spent.  None of it appears to be from space programs.

The rescission package includes $7 billion from the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which OMB says it supports, but the authorization to spend the money has lapsed or the money no longer is needed; $4.3 billion from a Department of Energy loan program for Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing that OMB says has not made a loan since 2011; $252 million from funds allocated to the Agency for International Development (AID) to fight the Ebola epidemic that has not been used; $148 million at the Department of Agriculture for animal and plant disease outbreaks that OMB says have largely been resolved; and $47 million at the Federal Transit Administration that OMB says has “stagnated for 13 years.”  Further details were not available at press time.

The outline of the rescission package was published in the Wall Street Journal this evening in an article by OMB Deputy Director Russ Vought and announced via Twitter.

ULA Machinist Union Members Strike

Nearly 600 members of the International Association of Machinist and Aerospace Workers (IAM) union rejected a contract proposal from the United Launch Alliance (ULA) on Sunday and went on strike today.

In a statement, ULA said it believed its offer was “fair, competitive and in the best interset of both ULA and its employees.” ULA President Tory Bruno said ULA operations would remain open at all sites: Decatur, Alabama where the Atlas V and Delta IV are built, and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS), FL and Vandenberg Air Force Base, CA where they are launched. []

For its part, the IAM said the “strike is centered around many issues, but above all has amplified the message that our members want to be valued and respected in the workplace.” []

Florida Today’s Emre Kelly tweeted photos of workers on strike at CCAFS today.

Ellen Ochoa Retiring from NASA, Joining NSB

Ellen Ochoa, JSC Center Director. Credit: NASA/Bill Stafford

Former astronaut and NASA Johnson Space Center Director Ellen Ochoa will become vice chair of the National Science Board (NSB) on May 11.  She is retiring from NASA after 30 years with the agency.

Ochoa was the first Hispanic woman in space.  She flew on four space shuttle missions (STS-56, STS-66, STS-96 and STS-110), accumulating almost 1,000 hours in space.  After leaving the astronaut corps, she served as Deputy JSC Director for five years before becoming Director in 2012.

She has a bachelor’s degree in physics from San Diego State University and a master’s and doctorate in electrical engineering from Stanford University.  She has three patents in the field of optical information processing.

NSB is the governing body of the National Science Foundation (NSF).  The incoming chair of the NSB is Diane Souvaine, professor of computer science and adjunct professor of mathematics at Tufts University.  The Director of NSF is France Cordova, a former NASA chief scientist.

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