"The sole dissenting voice during deliberations came from Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), who chairs the House space and aeronautics subcommittee. "I have no reluctance in telling you that this is a bad bill, it will do damage to NASA and must be struck down," she said. Though she was ultimately unsuccessful in swaying her colleagues, she listed several problems with the bill, including the additional Shuttle launch, a 30 percent cut in funding for STEM and minority education, and that the bill will "force NASA to build a rocket designed by congress and not by NASA engineers."
Keith's note: Congress has been designing spacecraft for decades - in one way or another. They also force NASA to build things it no longer needs or does not want. When panels of experts suggest that NASA needs to change direction (Augustine), Congress (Giffords) ignores them and pushes ahead with their preferred rocket designs (Ares 1). I personally watched a House Science Committee staffer redesign the way that modules on the space station were going to be designed in the 1990s. I'm not certain who is keeping Rep. Giffords up to date in this regard, but congressional meddling in rocket science is a long-standing activity. I am not all certain why she is so upset about this - she does it too.