Thursday, June 20, 2013

Unfunded Mandate to Moon Again: Surprise! 9 in 10 Disapprove of Congress

That the U.S. Congress is now setting record low levels of American voter support (9 in 10 disapprove!) is not a surprise as the Republican-led House of Representatives obstructs every reasonable plan to operate federal programs within budgets. A local example of this is the Republican-led House sub-committee on Space that just issued its latest legislation with an "unfunded mandate" to force NASA to go back again to the Moon without providing adequate budget to do it. In fact, their legislation, while insisting we need a colony on the Moon, actually cuts NASA's budget by $1 billion. It's been estimated that such a lunar base would cost up to $500B, and with current funding levels it would take half a century, effectively ending our dreams of going to Mars.

No doubt the Bay Area's brand new (well sadly, not really brand new) congressmen, Steve Stockman (your congressman on north side of lake) and Randy Weber (your congressman on south side of lake and previously most conservative member of Texas legislature), both on the House Science Committee will jump on the partisan bandwagon to fight NASA and JSC's new asteroid retrieval plan. Rather than working across the aisle in the House, these folks and their legislation are all about partisan politics. The hypocrisy is overwhelming, as they attempt to force through a bloated program proposal  while insisting that NASA cancel a short term "pay as you go" strategy to capture an asteroid.

Some remember the findings of the Augustine Committee Report which early in Obama's first term said that NASA needed "the right mission at the right size: NASA's budget should match its mission and goals..." And NASA has even less budget now. Does anyone in the Bay Area know what their new congressmen are doing inside the DC Beltway?

Stockman, called the nuttiest congressman, again" says on his website, "So let’s create a bold manned and unmanned space program, which includes a specific roadmap to return to the moon where we will learn how to live on other worlds, and then land on Mars." Awash in hypocrisy, Stockman's twitter account is @SteveWorks4You. His tweets are cheap, he'll support the Space subcommittee's recommendation to cut NASA's budget by $1B.

As @TXRANDY14, Randy Weber tweets about NASA more than any other topic. Unfortunately, while pretending to support NASA, he too will support the NASA budget cuts. We all may be better off with him playing with his dog in the U.S. Capitol as he recently tweeted, "This week I have been fortunate to have my dog Mia here in DC. She's been enjoying roaming the halls of the Capitol and meeting all the great people who stop by the office!" Great, the freshman congressman is fitting right in!

Hmm... maybe we can reward these folks hypocrisy of promoting big programs while also cutting their budgets by cutting the "good" congressmen's salaries. Now this is the real deal...let's cut congressional pay by 10%.

No comments:

Post a Comment