Congress: April 2007 Archives

Editor's note: If you check the Constellation Program Work Locations page at ESMD, you'll see that "The Constellation Program work is being performed at a variety of NASA Centers, Prime Contractors and Subcontractors located around the country. This work includes the Orion Crew Vehicle and Ares I Launch Vehicle and the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services Partners."

If you scroll down you will see that NASA has mapped ESMD contracts against the nation's congressional districts and the individuals who represent those states and districts in Congress. There is also a fancy flash animation (see this chart) of a U.S. map that lets you see who gets the money. The animation even goes down to civil service and contractor head counts and budgets for each field center. Just the sort of thing you need to put in a letter to your Congressman or Senator to remind them to support NASA.

To be certain, this is interesting information - but why is NASA posting this? The obvious answer (to me at least) is that NASA wants people to know who to contact on Capitol Hill about NASA. Of course, this also serves to show Congress just how well/widely NASA has spread the work across the U.S.

I also find it of interest to note that there is no mention of this exhaustive page of congressional information on the Office of Legislative Affairs page - nor is there any link from this ESMD page back to Legislative Affairs. I would think that the Legislative Affairs folks would like to promote this page - or is it that they had nothing to do with it?

Also - shouldn't NASA show earmarks as well - after all these pet projects are another way that Congress sends money back home. And what about all the other programs NASA distributes across the U.S. ?

It is good that NASA tries to explain how broadly based participation in space exploration is across the U.S. - but isn't this just a little too close to NASA facilitating public lobbying - on behalf of NASA? This might be a more appropriate (and useful) thing for the Coalition for Space Exploration to put on their website.

Show Me The Money

Lawmakers at odds with NASA's chief, Huntsville Times

"Keith Cowing, a former NASA employee who runs the Web site, said the feud between Shelby and Griffin seems silly compared to NASA's overall budget challenges "because it is over 32 people who won't even lose their jobs." "I don't think Mike Griffin is in trouble or will lose his job because of Richard Shelby. Shelby's in the minority now," Cowing said. "I think Mike Griffin thinks he can run NASA without Congress, sometimes, and that's not the case."

But Cowing said NASA's budget is shrinking. Because Congress failed to approve NASA's budget for fiscal 2007, the space agency is working under a continuing resolution that freezes budget money at the 2006 level. That means NASA has to keep programs going with a budget shortage of more than $500 million, NASA leaders have said.

"What's Mike Griffin supposed to do? What's NASA supposed to do? They have a mandate from the president and Congress to perform a task - return to the moon," Cowing said. "But (NASA) wasn't given enough money to start with, and now NASA has to deal with even less. Priorities have to be set, and money has to be shifted in the budget.

"Again, what's Mike Griffin supposed to do? Where's the money come from?"

NASA misses Grassley deadline, Business Week

"NASA failed to meet a deadline this week imposed by the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee to provide information on a disputed $5.2 million software contract."

Grassley calls on NASA to meet its commitment in procurement probe, Senate Finance Committee

"Please provide your written response by no later than April 19, 2007. Additionally, I request that your office provide an in-depth briefing to the Committee staff following the submission of your written response."

NASA Lawmakers Write Letter to President Calling for Space Summit to Discuss Space Program Future, Rep. Weldon

Gordon and Udall Urge President to Help with NASA Funding, House Science and Technology Committee

"Dear Mr. President: As chairmen of the House Science and Technology Committee and its Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee, we have a strong interest in ensuring that the nation's space and aeronautics programs are healthy and robust. In that regard, we are deeply concerned about the mismatch between the resources being provided to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the tasks that it is being asked to undertake. Stresses resulting from that mismatch can be seen in all of the agency's programs."

Grassley calls on NASA to meet its commitment in procurement probe, Senate Finance Committee

"In a letter sent today to NASA headquarters, Grassley said that the agency made specific commitments in a letter to the Government Accountability Office as part of its response to a bid protest. These commitments led to the dismissal of that protest, but a review by the NASA Office of the Inspector General found that NASA did not follow through. "NASA needs to ensure that basic procurement principles are followed. NASA also needs to keep GAO informed and alert them to the events that have transpired since the dismissal of the bid protest to ensure that future responses to GAO are taken credibly," Grassley said."

Editor's update: I just got an obnoxious phone call from Dan McLaughlin (Sen. Nelson's office) who has a propensity for yelling - actually the better term is "bellowing" - at the top of his lungs into his speakerphone.

He refused to address any question regarding access that fellow Democrats on the House Science and Technology Committee are allowing to the press - even though Sen. Nelson has sought to join himself at the hip with the concerns voiced by that committee. He also said that Sen. Nelson had called for the release of this report and that any suggestions I have posted with regard to Nelson releasing it are "misplaced" and that I should be calling on the President's Council on Integrity and Efficency itself to release this report.

Battle Between Administration, Congress Over NASA Inspector General

"On Monday, these lawmakers received a report on Cobb's conduct from the president's Council on Integrity and Efficiency, which has been investigating complaints against Cobb dating back several years. The report paints a picture of an official who abused his office and failed to report a major security breach."

Editor's note: Instead of releasing selective excerpts from this report, why won't Sen. Nelson et al simply release the entire report so that everyone can read everything for themselves? Right now all the taxpaying public has to go on is what Nelson, Gordon, and Miller want us to know. Yet what they do not want us to know is withheld from public scrutiny. Indeed, if these elected officials are going to threaten to subpoena people and use the word "Battle" in press releases - all at a time when NASA's budget and its ability to do things is at issue - shouldn't all the facts be out in plain sight?

Or is this just politics - not governance - on display?

Editor's update: It would seem that if reporters contact the House Science and Technology Committee press office, they will let you come in and examine parts of the report - but not all of it - and they won't let you make a copy. Why are media allowed to read it but not taxpayers? And why are only portions available?

As for Sen. Nelson's sudden prudishness over the use of profanity in the workplace - the Vice President of the United States used the F-word on the floor of the Senate - to a fellow member of the Senate. Shouldn't Sen. Nelson go after him too?

Also, word has it that the House Science and Technology Committee is becoming increasingly annoyed with Sen. Nelson. Apparently, the House members are miffed that Sen. Nelson (who has a personal bone to pick with NASA IG Cobb) took their issue and went nuclear with it.

Key Lawmakers Call For Removal of NASA IG

"Among other things, investigators found that Cobb lunched, played golf with and traveled with former NASA chief and Bush appointee Sean OKeefe raising questions about his independence."

Editor's update: While this report has yet to be released, I just can't help but find it rather curious how someone such as Sen. Nelson who shamelessly used the influence of his official position to press NASA to get a ride on a Space Shuttle mission (while contributing nothing of value to that mission) would be so indignant about such alleged conflict of interest issues. And, of course, Sen. Nelson never eats lunch with anyone ....

Lawmakers want NASA watchdog fired, NBC

"Congressional sources who have read the report said it faulted Cobb for rough language in the office, and for banging on his desk when addressing employees. "There was liberal use of the so-called 'F-word' in Mr. Cobb's language," one source said. The sources spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not officially authorized to discuss the report."

Editor's update: How much more hypocritical can we get folks? Where do I start? Congressional staffers are willing to leak things - and speak about something they have been told not to speak about - but that's OK when it comes to an ethics report about someone else's behavior!? Gimme a break. As for using the 'F-word'. Oh, gee, how terrible. I guess I'll have to start recording some of the profane words I have heard openly spoken in hallways and offices after hours on the Hill - by Senators, Congressmen, and their staff ... and there is at least one female aerospace lobbyist I once heard swearing into her cellphone in the lobby of the Reagan building - a large, overtly public place which tends to echo .... for that matter, the Vice President of the United States used the F-word on the floor of the Senate - to a member of the Senate. Shouldn't Sen. Nelson go after him too?

Contributions received by Bill Nelson, FEC (Bill Nelson Campaign)

Do As I Say - Not As I Do, earlier post



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This page is an archive of entries in the Congress category from April 2007.

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