We hope Sen. Hutchison has abandoned the proposition that puts national security at risk of inviting Chinese investment in our space program to offset part of budget tightening. Her misplaced priorities have forced belt tightening in the wrong place for NASA, Texas, and science on earth: cuts in the studying of what NASA learns in space has led to what experts dub "space tourism" and a change in the NASA mission statement to eliminate learning about the earth in which we live.
Senator Hutchison has decided that NASA's priorities on a limited budget are not aligned with hers.
When the effects of poor senate leadership for Texans are publicized (antitrust objections to the Wright Amendment, for example) Texas' senior senator picks up her pen and objects to the federal government, just as she complained about lack of hurricane relief for Texas, blaming the "federal government."
Sen. Hutchison should acknowledge that, in her continued criticism of the federal government, she is Texas' senior representative in the federal government. She claims she has tremendous power on the apropriations committee. Yet, after 13 plus years and senate seniority from Texas, she's been unable to bring home government spending in fair proportion for Texas.
Here's the latest example: Sen. Hutchison was unable to get enough apropriations for NASA. Experts say the scientific research area has been cut to such a degree that the manned flights now amount to "space tourism" with inadequate study of data brought home. To defend the cutbacks she caused, she now complains about the federal agency she's been starving.
Here's the opening of her press release:
Senator Hutchison Expresses Concern at Possible International Space Station Research Suspension by NASA
Date Released: Friday, August 11, 2006
Source: Sen. Hutchinson
WASHINGTON - This week, U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), Chairman of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Science and Space, in a letter to NASA Administrator Dr. Michael Griffin expressed concern that NASA may be considering suspension of International Space Station (ISS) research for up to a year.
Excerpts from her letter:
Dear Dr. Griffin:
We are writing to express concerns at recent reports that NASA is considering the suspension of International Space Station (ISS) research for at least a year and as much as three years. We are well aware that NASA has been operating within a severely constrained resource environment at the same time it is undertaking the new activities contemplated by the Vision for Space Exploration.
"If NASA needs to find savings in FY 2007, or needs to restore depleted Space Station reserves, it should not be looking to take those funds from the very realm of activity that the Space Station is intended to support and the very foundation of congressional support for the space station over the past twenty-two years. "
The senior senator has now publicly released the letter. She did not tell the adminsitrator where he should find the money. She has never identified what military or special interests have projects or needs requiring the work she demands in the next year, nor her rationale for replacing her expertise in space science and exploration research with that of NASA's.