Congress: April 1996 Archives

Mikulski Says Accelerated Downsizing at NASA HQ Is premature
Senator Expresses Outrage at Surprise Announcement
Says Agency Plan to Speed-Up Personnel Cuts Leaves Many Questions Unanswered

U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD) today pledged to fight the proposed personnel reductions recently announced by NASA for its headquarters office. The space agency unexpectedly announced today that it would accelerate its downsizing timetable by three years as well as increase the number of personnel reductions. Mikulski is the senior Democrat on the panel that funds NASA.

"I am deeply distressed by NASA's surprise announcement today," said Mikulski. "This plan calls for too much too soon. It is premature and leaves many questions unanswered such as what positions will be eliminated and how this will impact NASA's ability to perform its mission. Until these questions are answered, NASA risks downgrading its operations instead of merely downsizing them."

Senator Mikulski has been a long-time supporter of NASA's space program. Over the past several months and as early as Monday, April 15, Senator Mikulski has had discussions with top NASA officials regarding future budgets for the space agency. She has pledged to fight any unnecessary, unexplained and unwarranted reductions in future NASA budgets.

The new downsizing plan speeds-up the timetable for the downsizing as well as increases the number of personnel reductions. The original NASA plan call for the headquarters workforce to be reduced from 2,200 to 1,073 positions -- a reduction of 1,127 jobs -- by the year 2000. Under the revised plan, an additional 400 positions would be eliminated from the headquarters office and the entire plan would be implemented by October 1997. Should this plan be implemented, NASA headquarters would see its staff reduced by 69% over the next year.

"I want the employees at NASA to know I am on their side. I will fight these proposed personnel reductions just as I have fought proposed budget cuts. I will stand sentry for the NASA budget in Congress and I will take my fight all the way to the Oval Office if need be."



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