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Weldon Joins Call For Space Summit To Discuss Space Program Future

U.S. Rep. Dave Weldon (R-FL).
by Staff Writers
Washington DC (SPX) Apr 23, 2007
U.S. Rep. Dave Weldon (R-FL) has joined a bipartisan group of lawmakers in calling for a meeting with President Bush to discuss the future of our nation's space program. The move comes just weeks after Congress approved a 2007 budget resolution that raided NASA's budget and gutted the manned-space initiative.

In a letter to the President, the lawmakers wrote, "We believe that a balanced, robust space program is in the national interest of the United States. However, we are concerned that America's leadership in space could be threatened by a lack of resources devoted to our space program."

Weldon, who represents thousands of workers employed at Kennedy Space Center, expressed disbelief that some of the lawmakers calling for the space summit voted for the very budget that cut NASA funding.

"Holding a space summit with the President is worthwhile," said Weldon. "But, it seems a little disingenuous to write a letter expressing concern about NASA's lack of resources, when you're voting for budgets that cut NASA funding."

"What good will a space summit do if those calling for it aren't willing to stand up and be counted when it matters most?" continued Weldon, who has repeatedly voted against budgets that have denied NASA the necessary funding.

Weldon said the proof of today's letter will be whether the Democratic leaders will restore NASA's budget.

"Either the lawmakers who signed this letter will stand firm this time in rejecting cuts to NASA or today's letter to the President will be nothing more than a PR stunt to distract voters' attention from their vote to cut NASA."

Earlier this year the Senate and the House voted to cut NASA's budget by nearly $500 million. Of the 17 signatories to today's letter, nine voted for the NASA budget cuts.

earlier related report
Gordon and Udall Urge President to Help with NASA Funding
Washington DC (SPX) Apr 23 - the Chairman of the House Committee on Science and Technology Bart Gordon (D-TN) and the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics Mark Udall (D-CO) urged the President to work with Members of Congress to ensure that NASA has the resources necessary to carry out its important work.

Gordon and Udall are joining forces with other Members of Congress who are calling for the President to meet with them to address the NASA funding challenge.

In the years following the President's January 2004 announcement of the Administration's ambitious Vision for Space Exploration, NASA has faced a continued series of funding cutbacks to International Space Station (ISS) research, technology development for future exploration ventures, and for robotic exploration of the Moon. In addition, the projected multi-year gap in U.S. independent access to space for its astronauts after the Shuttle's retirement still remains a serious concern.

With respect to aeronautics the Chairmen wrote, "Your Administration recently released a national aeronautics research policy that sets worthwhile goals for addressing our nation's future aviation needs. However, without a corresponding commitment of the necessary resources, the goals espoused in the aeronautics policy will be difficult if not impossible to achieve. Given the importance of the nation's air transportation system to our economy and competitiveness, our national security, and our quality of life, we need to ensure that those goals are met."

They also expressed similar concerns about the situation facing NASA's science programs - including space science, Earth science, and the life and microgravity sciences - pointing to the impact of cutbacks in NASA's basic research and small- and medium-sized missions on the next generation of scientists and engineers.

In their letter, the Chairmen ask the President to meet with Members of Congress who share a commitment to exploration, science and education, and aeronautics in an effort to address the challenges facing NASA.

Read a copy of the letter here

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