Oct 04 2007

Shelby Delivers Floor Statement on NASA Spending

U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), ranking member of the Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations Subcommittee, today made the following statement on the floor of the U.S. Senate to urge his colleagues to support adequate funding for NASA.

Senator Shelby’s comments, as prepared: 

“I want to express my strong support for the amendment the Chairwoman has introduced today.”

“Senator Mikulski and I have worked hard to craft a bill that addresses the priorities of our members.” 

“Yet, despite our generous allocation, the funding necessary for NASA to aggressively pursue the President’s “Vision for Space Exploration” can not be accommodated without this amendment.”

“Since the tragedy of the Space Shuttle Columbia breaking up during re-entry in February of 2003, NASA has spent $2.7 billion to make the shuttle program as safe as possible to ensure our nation continues to be the leader in space exploration.” 

“Unfortunately, the NASA budget requests have not adequately restored the necessary resources in their subsequent requests.”

“Instead, the costs have been absorbed from within NASA.” 

“Science funding has been cut significantly and programs not directly associated with the exploration vision are being deferred, delayed or cancelled.” 

“By slowing down the cutting edge science carried out by NASA, we are mortgaging our future.” 

“The foundation for technological leadership and the successes of tomorrow are built on the investments we make in NASA today.” 

“NASA’s research and cutting edge technological advancements have driven science and innovation in this country since the dawn of the space age.” 

“We are shortchanging our future by not fully funding science, innovation, and space exploration.  This critical knowledge will be needed in the years to come to make human exploration of the moon and other planets a reality.”  

“These effects cannot be ignored any longer if we are to maintain our leadership and presence in space.” 

“With the burden of correcting the dramatic Presidential budget cuts in critical justice programs and in NOAA, it is increasingly difficult for this Committee to find the resources necessary to keep NASA on the right track.”

“To balance the lack of support for NASA’s science and aeronautics programs in the budget request, there are few options left to consider.” 

“The adoption of this amendment will not only respond to the pressing needs brought about by a tragic accident, but will also send a clear signal that Congress is serious about ensuring that the U.S. retains its leadership position in space exploration.”

“I would urge my colleagues to vote for this amendment.”