Feingold Control Spending Now Act

Control Spending Now Act: Sacrificing NASA's Long-Term Effectiveness for Political Expediency, Ian Malone for NASA Watch

As the nation looks for ways to cut out-of-control spending, one senator in particular has proposed a measure that will have a negative impact on the future of manned spaceflight. Senator Russ Feingold, (D-Wis.), has proposed the Control Spending Now Act which would cause the plans to return astronauts to the moon to be delayed by some five years.

Feingold has stated that given the current fiscal crisis that it would be fiscally irresponsible to return astronauts to the moon. He has also stated that the astronauts would be endangered by what he called, "unnecessary risk." Feingold is a member of the Senate Budget Committee.

Utilizing the Augustine Commission's report as part of his rationale as well as the recent displays by the American public of their displeasure at the amount of spending that has happened in the past year; Feingold entered the act to cut the current U.S. deficit, which stands at $1.42 trillion.

Ironically, while Feingold takes issue with NASA returning to the job of exploration, he has little issue with supporting Health Care Reform. Although estimates for the current Health Care Reform Bill vary between $1 trillion, $905 and $849 billion dollars - the cost is substantial and will encompass one-sixth of the American economy. NASA's budget by comparison, at its height during the Apollo program was $35 billion. NASA's budget for the 2010 fiscal year is currently estimated at $18 billion dollars.

The estimated savings of delaying the lunar missions is some $24.7 billion. However, the real expense could actually be in delaying the lunar program. By reigning in NASA's efforts, Feingold would in fact be giving a green light for other nations to take the lead. China, Europe, Russia and India are moving ahead with their lunar ambitions despite economic concerns.

The plans of these countries appear more pragmatic than the Apollo Program, based less on prestige and science and more on the future vitality of their respective peoples. With the recent discovery of caches of water on the moon as well as the deposits of metals, minerals and other resources to be found in the lunar regolith, the moon is a tempting target for exploration and possible exploitation. Senator Feingold's attempts to delay NASA's lunar resurgence may allow these others nation's aspirations to reach fruition at the expense of his own constituents.

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This page contains a single entry by Ian Malone published on January 20, 2010 1:10 PM.

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