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Attempt To Reverse $500 Million NASA Budget Cut Fails

By | May 7, 2007

      A Republican Florida congressman lost his bid to eliminate a proposed $500 million cut in NASA funding in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2008, compared to the current fiscal 2007.

      Rep. Dave Weldon (R-Fla.) proposed an amendment to block the $500 million reduction made part of President Bush’s proposed federal budget plan for fiscal 2008.

      Weldon said the cut amounts to a raid on NASA funding so as to move the money into a budget increase for the National Science Foundation (NSF).

      “It’s increasingly clear that Democratic leaders have our manned space program in their crosshairs,” he said.

      Weldon originally introduced the amendment after the Democrats proposed a 35 percent, or $2 billion, funding increase for the NSF.

      That proposed increase was made possible earlier this year when Democrats cut a half-a-billion dollars from NASA funding, Weldon asserted. NASA and NSF are funded through the same budget account and compete for the same pot of money.

      “Democrats are on a glide path to cripple our manned space program,” Weldon alleged. “It’s time the space community saw this for what it is: an assault on our commitment to build the [Space Shuttle] replacement, return to the moon, and maintain our strategic advantage in space. It’s also an assault on the civilian workers and contractors who are about to have their lives disrupted because Democrats can’t divert NASA funding fast enough to their other priorities.”

      According to Weldon, it’s imperative that lawmakers who believe human space flight is important and who come from states with a strong NASA presence — both Democrats and Republicans — put their political capital on the line to save NASA funding from the chopping block.

      Earlier this month, Weldon joined a bipartisan group of 17 lawmakers in calling for a summit with the Bush Administration to discuss the space program’s funding shortages. Ironically, seven of the lawmakers who signed that letter had just voted for half-a-billion in cuts to NASA’s budget, Weldon observed.

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