Lawmakers express concerns at JSC

Harris County-area congressional delegation and local leadership visited Johnson Space Center

April 16, 2010 3:16:20 PM PDT
The message Friday from our state's congressional delegation was: Come to see Johnson Space Center and the work that's being done by thousands of Texans. It comes after President Barack Obama's speech Thursday in Florida in which he never mentioned Houston or JSC. Houston Mayor Annise Parker was at JSC with four members of Texas' Congressional delegation to meet with the NASA leaders to figure out what can be done to fight the president's plan to cut back work at JSC in the next several years. They just want the president to realize what the thousands of employees in Space City bring to the nation.

President Obama filled out his space vision Thursday hoping to visit Mars in his lifetime and promising millions to help ease NASA job losses in Florida. Missing from his speech though was any mention of Texas. In fact, it was buried in White House press releases.

"Texas was the third to last word on this document. Colorado, Texas, Florida. This is the hub of human space flight," said U.S. Rep. Pete Olson of Sugar Land.

There is no job assistance promised by the White House to help Texans who lose NASA related jobs. No promise Johnson Space Center will get a specific program to send Americans back to space. Not even a mention of a potential presidential visit to the home of manned space flight.

"I am pleased that the president in his announcement recommitted to space exploration. I am less pleased with the fact that I didn't hear a clear specific mission articulated for Johnson Space Center," said Houston Mayor Annise Parker.

Mayor Parker together with the Texas Congressional delegation says they are united regardless of political party to save Houston's space jobs and legacy. However, politically speaking, Texas may not be on the president's mind. No member of Congress here Friday has even talked to the president about NASA, but they vow to fight on.

"It is so important that our delegation provides a united front in support of the workers at JSC and the future of American human spaceflight," said U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison. "We must not turn our backs on 40 years of American space superiority or on the hard working Texans who are such an integral part of the space industry."

"If we do nothing, then this magnificent Saturn V will be the last heavy lift manned space rocket that America ever builds and it's not going to happen on our watch," said U.S. Rep. John Culberson of Houston.

Their plan is to work through Congress to get support to turn down the president's budget and increase NASA's funds. Some members including Rep. Gene Green said they have the support of their colleagues in Washington and they will not be ignored.


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