Congress: November 2006 Archives

In Hoyer's Rise, Backers Eye Payoff, Washington Post

"As the Democratic congressman from Southern Maryland prepares to assume the post of U.S. House majority leader, constituents and officials in his district hope that the move will put Hoyer in a stronger position to do what has earned him much loyal support in his 25 years in Congress: bring home the bacon. ... Hoyer has helped to steer billions of federal dollars for several projects, including the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt ..."

Memo From NASA Assistant Administrator For Legislative Affairs Regarding The FY 2007 budget in the 110th Congress

"- The House-proposed reduction of 1/3 of the request would impact all NASA Centers, particularly Ames Research Center, Glenn Research Center, Langley Research Center, and Marshall Space Flight Center, resulting in increased uncovered workforce of approximately 165 FTEs.

- Senate-proposed cut jeopardizes bringing the CLV on-line, including the planned early 2009 CLV demonstration (33 months from now) and 2014 First Human Launch.

- A reduction of $33.4M in MUSS would force NASA to consider layoffs of critical staff and the potential mothballing of the Payload Operations Integration Center and Payload Operations Integration Function (POIC/POIF) at MSFC."

Q&A: Bart Gordon, Nature (subscription)

"Does NASA have its priorities right? Do you feel that a realistic number has been put on the cost of sending humans to Mars?

I would like to see NASA do all that it is proposing and more. But we need to do a better job of oversight. I want to see if all of the numbers add up, and frankly I don't think they will. If they don't, we will have to take a hard look at priorities. I don't want to pass problems on to others. What we have seen with NASA is that prior administrators just keep on passing on problems. Someone needs to take oversight."

Gordon Steps Up to House Science Post, Science (subscription)

"As chair of the committee's space panel in the early 1990s, Gordon developed an interest in space-related issues that is likely to translate into closer scrutiny of the Bush Administration's proposed moon-Mars exploration program and its impact on space science. "I think that both are underfunded," he says, "but I think we need to know more before we can move ahead."

House Appropriations Update

Mollohan in Line For Appropriations Spot, Wheeling News-Register

"Mollohan, D-W.Va., brought millions of dollars to Fairmont for the creation of the I-79 high-technology corridor. And now that Democrats will regain control of the U.S. House of Representatives, Mollohan possibly could chair the subcommittee that oversees government spending for NASA."

Nature on Funding the VSE

Congressional agendas, editorial, Nature (subscription)

"The damage done to America and the rest of the world by unsustainable deficits is real, and any lack of zeal in facing this problem would be a mistake. In that context, this would be a good time for Congress to look again at Bush's plans for NASA to re-establish a human presence in deep space. The outgoing Republican Congress gave its Republican president too much benefit of the doubt on this undertaking. The new Congress must, at the very least, articulate more convincing reasons than have yet been heard for such a colossal expenditure."

Congress's sci-tech agenda to shift under Democrats, Christian Science Monitor

"Another area ripe for tighter oversight is NASA and the president's Vision for Space Exploration, adds Ray Williamson, with the George Washington University Space Policy Institute. In hearings before the House Committee on Science, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have expressed support for the effort in general. But, he notes, they worry that the White House isn't giving NASA the money it needs to do the job without sacrificing other important activities."

Florida's Capitol Hill Democrats ready to wield clout in committees, Palm Beach Post

"Nelson, who flew aboard the space shuttle Columbia when he chaired the House subcommittee on space in the mid-1980s, is in line to chair the Senate's subcommittee on science and space. He said he'll push for more money for NASA so it can complete work on the next generation of manned space vehicles to replace the aging shuttle fleet by 2012, rather than the anticipated deadline of 2014. He said he also wants to see the National Aeronautics and Space Administration pursue repairs to the Hubble space telescope."

Switch leaves Texans in minority in Senate, AP

"Hutchison also is chairwoman of the science and space subcommittee of the Senate's Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., will chair that panel. "Dianne Feinstein and I have taken care of each others priorities well on military construction ... Bill Nelson and I have the same objectives in NASA, so I feel we're going to be in good shape in Texas," Hutchison said."

The Changes That Lie Ahead

Democratic Congress unlikely to cut defense, space, experts say, Huntsville Times

"If the Democrats have control of both the House and Senate, said Keith Cowing, a NASA expert who runs, "then you can expect a lot of hearings and much, much more oversight of NASA programs, and the government in general." "That also means things won't just be shunted down to Marshall Space Flight Center because the Alabama delegation wants it," he said. Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Tuscaloosa, and Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Mobile, have both been influential in winning money and support for NASA and Pentagon programs over the past 10 to 12 years."

NASA Internal Memo: ESMD resources Weekly: September 25-29, 2006

"Doc had his first hearing yesterday. We have a few actions but it was well received. It's one of the toughest jobs in Washington to sit in the line of fire like that. Ex Comptroller Mal Peterson aptly called it Kabuki theater. Some basics to keep in mind:

- Show no weakness. They may want to take advantage.

- Stay calm. Be prepared to answer some questions repeatedly. You know much more than they do about the details and what seems to be second nature to you is not to them.

- Rarely should you turn around and ask if someone behind you has anything to add. Most effective reply is a direct answer or say you'll get back.

- What if the witness does not agree with the budget his President has submitted? Say it is adequate over and over with a smile."



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