Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Posey, Adams want to keep NASA focused on space flight.

WASHINGTON — Florida Reps. Bill Posey and Sandy Adams are urging their Republican House colleagues to focus NASA funding on human space flight, rather than become distracted by areas such as climate-change research.

As Republicans search for ways to cut billions in federal spending, the lawmakers representing the region around Kennedy Space Center argued that NASA's priorities have diverged from its core mission of space exploration.

"Limited resources force us to make important decisions with regard to the objectives of all federal departments and agencies, including NASA," said Posey of Rockledge. "NASA's primary purpose is human space exploration and directing NASA funds to study global warming undermines our ability to maintain our competitive edge in human space flight."

Republicans complained that in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, NASA spent more than $1 billion studying climate change, and that the bulk of the agency's stimulus funding went toward the subject.

The Florida lawmakers joined Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, in urging the chairmen of the Appropriations Committee and the science subcommittee to reduce funding for climate research.

Congress will make decisions within weeks on NASA spending from March 4 through Sept. 30. In addition, President Barack Obama will propose his budget Monday for the year starting Oct. 1.

"As NASA's human spaceflight program hangs in the balance, it is imperative that we ask ourselves: What is the future of NASA?" said Adams of Orlando.

-Bart Jansen

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