"In scrapping large parts of the Constellation program, however, Obama has outraged lawmakers from Gulf Coast states and Utah, where contracts and jobs may be lost. In a meeting Thursday of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee that oversees NASA, Sen. Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.) accused Administrator Charles F. Bolden Jr. and NASA on Thursday of ceding space exploration to the "Russians, the Chinese and even the Indians," and he accused the administration of setting up a "welfare program for commercial space industry."
Lawmakers Question NASA's Plan for Private Rockets, Wall Street Journal
"But it's the panel headed by Sen. Mikulski, who has been wooed by the White House in recent weeks, that could play the leading role in shaping NASA's future. Unbtil Thursday, Sen. Mikulski hadn't expressed her views publicly. At this point, however, many veteran lawmakers predict Congress will adopt a continuing resolution for the agency, which wouldn't resolve the controversial issues this year."
"Right now I feel like a deep-space probe; I'm in reconnaissance," said Mikulski, after a Thursday hearing of the commerce, justice and science appropriations subcommittee. A key issue, she said, was whether commercial companies would be held to the same safety standards as NASA. "We're not sending cases of Tang into space. We're sending our astronauts and the astronauts from other countries that they provide to us," she said. "
"The president's plan has drawn criticism from Democratic and Republican lawmakers in states with NASA operations. Last week, Obama announced that part of the Constellation program, the Orion capsule, was being revived to provide astronauts an emergency escape from the station and reduce U.S. reliance on Russian Soyuz vehicles when the space shuttle program ends this year."