Representatives to Obama: Give NASA an Extra $3 Billion Per Year

nasa_logoPRESS RELEASE

Today, Congresswoman Suzanne Kosmas (D-FL-24) and Congressman Ken Calvert (R-CA-44) sent a bipartisan letter to President Obama signed by 81 members of the U.S. House of Representatives from across the country calling for additional funding for NASA’s human spaceflight program. The large number of cosigners is an indication of the strong national support for human spaceflight and its many benefits.

The letter comes in response to the report by the Review of Human Space Flight Plans Committee, which found that NASA is unable to conduct a meaningful spaceflight program under current budget levels. The letter calls for the President to support the committee’s recommendation of a $3 billion annual budget increase in order to maintain America’s global leadership in space exploration and to ensure NASA’s continued contributions to our economy and national security.

“It is critical that we work together to support the long-lasting technological, economic and national security benefits of human spaceflight,” said Congresswoman Kosmas. “Our letter sends a strong message to the President that Congress will continue to fight to maintain America’s leadership in space exploration in order to inspire this and future generations to imagine, innovate, and create new science and technology for the 21st century and beyond.”

“NASA’s human space flight program has been the nation’s leading catalyst for innovation and technology based on over 50 years of broad public support and strong bipartisan political leadership,” stated Rep. Calvert, the former Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics. “The agency’s work is linked to larger issues like national security and American competitiveness. The valuable research done at NASA is also the genesis of tens of thousands of high-tech jobs in America and millions of dollars into our economy.”

Kosmas and Calvert are co-chairs of the NASA House Action Team, a bipartisan group of legislators from across the country who have made advocating for NASA one of their top priorities. Their letter, signed by 42 Democrats and 39 Republicans, also calls for an extension of the International Space Station at least through 2020 in order to maximize the return on the nation’s investment in the station.

The full text of the letter to the President and list of signers can be found below:

Dear President Obama,

As Members of Congress who greatly value the contributions of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to our nation, we appreciate the hard work of the U.S. Human Space Flight Plans Committee. With its final report available now, we look forward to renewed communications between the Administration and Congress about America’s human space flight program. We write in strong support of receiving a Fiscal Year 2011 budget request which truly supports this core element of NASA’s mission.

While evaluating options for future of human space exploration, the Augustine Committee concluded that regardless of the direction or the details of the program, an increased level of long-term, sustainable funding must be a major component. The Review Committee’s finding that, “Human exploration beyond low-Earth orbit is not viable under the FY 2010 budget guideline” demonstrates that NASA’s underfunded budgets over the past several years have slowed the pace of exploration, depleted resources, and frustrated the development of new space systems. We believe an increased level of funding is essential to ensure NASA has the resources needed to meet the mission challenges of human space flight.

Currently, NASA is funding the development of the next generation human space flight systems with partners that bring decades of experience in developing and operating complex space systems while also encouraging new entrants to the space flight industry. The $3 billion annual increase recommended by the Committee would not fully restore the funding originally budgeted for the next generation programs. However, the increase would make a considerable difference in our ability to have a space exploration program to ensure that our nation maintains its global leadership position. A significant investment must be made given NASA’s contributions to America’s economic and national security.

The International Space Station (ISS) should remain operational as long as it can be productive without being constrained by an arbitrary, budget-driven termination date. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2005 designated the ISS as a U.S. National Laboratory to conduct research for other Federal agencies and the commercial sector. Extending the ISS, at least through 2020, is necessary in order to maintain and improve important international partnerships, maximize the return on our nation’s investment, and spur discoveries that will enable exploration of our universe and improve life here on Earth.

As you may know, NASA is supported by tens of thousands of highly skilled and experienced men and women who make up the civil servant and contractor workforce. These space professionals are a critical national resource and contribute to a vital industrial base that supports civil, military, and commercial space. If we allow a gap in human space flight our nation will have lost valuable skills that will be costly and difficult to replace. In addition, we also will have given up on our hard-won space preeminence over other nations, including Russia and China, who will surely step in to fill the void.

We wish to impress upon you the significant and fleeting opportunity we have to ensure that our nation continues its preeminence in human space flight. Instituting a cohesive and comprehensive plan with clear direction for NASA’s future policies depends on leadership and the commitment to follow through with adequate funding. This can only be accomplished if it is established as a national priority through Presidential leadership.

We know that you share with us the enthusiasm that is generated by a bold human space flight program. We look forward to receiving your Administration’s proposal and working with you to ensure a robust, cutting edge and inspirational human space flight program worthy of our great nation.

Sincerely,

Suzanne Kosmas (D-FL)
Ken Calvert (R-CA)
Joe Barton (R-TX)
Gus Bilirakis (R-FL)
Rob Bishop (R-UT)
Alan Boyd (R-FL)
Kevin Brady (R-TX)
Corrine Brown (D-FL)
Henry Brown (R-SC)
Ginny Brown Waite (R-FL)
Vern Buchanan (R-FL)
Anh ‘Joseph’ Cao (R-LA)
Lois Capps (D-CA)
Michael Capuano (D-MA)
John Carter (R-TX)
Kathy Castor (D-FL)
Jason Chaffetz (R-UT)
Judy Chu (D-CA)
Gerald Connolly (D-VA)
Ander Crenshaw (R-FL)
John Culberson (R-TX)
Elijah Cummings (D-MD)
Arthur Davis (D-AL)
Danny Davis (D-IL)
Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-FL)
Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL)
David Dreier (R-CA)
Chet Edwards (D-TX)
Randy Forbes (R-VA)
Marcia Fudge (D-OH)
Louie Gohmert (R-TX)
Alan Grayson (D-FL)
Al Green (D-TX)
Gene Green (D-TX)
Parker Griffith (D-AL)
Ralph Hall (R-TX)
Phil Hare (D-IL)
Alcee Hastings (D-FL)
Michael Honda (D-CA)
Shelia Jackson Lee (D-TX)
Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX)
Ron Klein (D-FL)
Frank Kratovil (D-MD)
Dennis Kucinich (D-OH)
Steven LaTourette (R-OH)
Daniel Lungren (R-CA)
Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)
Michael McCaul (R-TX)
Howard ‘Buck’ McKeon (R-CA)
Connie Mack (R-FL)
Betsy Markey (D-CO)
Kendrick Meek (D-FL)
Charlie Melancon (D-LA)
John Mica (R-FL)
Brad Miller (D-NC)
Candace Miller (R-MI)
Jeff Miller (R-FL)
Grace Napolitano (D-CA)
Glenn Nye (D-VA)
Pete Olson (R-TX)
Ed Perlmutter (D-CO)
Bill Posey (R-FL)
Adam Putnam (R-FL)
Laura Richardson (D-CA)
Tom Rooney (R-FL)
Ileana Ros Lehtinen (R-FL)
John Salazar (D-CO)
John Sarbanes (D-MD)
Adam Schiff (D-CA)
Aaron Schock (R-IL)
David Scott (D-GA)
Michael Simpson (R-ID)
Adrian Smith (R-NE)
Lamar Smith (R-TX)
Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)
Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL)
Diane Watson (D-CA)
Robert Wexler (D-FL)
Charlie Wilson (D-OH)
David Wu (D-OR)
Bill Young (R-FL)