Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Opposition to Obama Strong in Congress

This is from Obama to reboot NASA budget; Shelby fires warning shot:

Amid increasing political pressure, the White House is now prepared to scale back its plans to cut NASA's manned space-flight program next year.

President Barack Obama will announce his slightly revised NASA spending plan during his speech at Kennedy Space Center on Thursday afternoon, according to reports.

But the spending plan will also relax many of the other cuts to NASA's shuttle program that have so far only earned Obama the scorn of congressional lawmakers, who feel the 2011 budget would leave NASA with an inadequate mission.

However, even the revised budget has already incensed one lawmaker: Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), whose state is home to a major NASA base in Huntsville. Shelby quickly blasted the president's new proposal in a release Wednesday, stressing it was just as "visionless" as the plan that preceded it.

"This new plan does not represent an advancement in policy or an improvement upon the Constellation program, but a continued abdication of America's leadership in space," said Shebly, the ranking member on the Senate Appropriations Committee that handles NASA dollars.

"The President has replaced one visionless plan with another," he continued. "It is clear that the Administration does not believe that American leadership in human space flight is a priority worth fighting for."

Among other things, the president's revised NASA plan would permit the continued construction of the Orion space capsule. However, the capsule will function only as an emergency vehicle for astronauts at the International Space Station, the White House announced in a fact sheet.

Obama's revised budget will also propose speeding up the development of a rocket that can actually reach the Moon and farther, officials told reporters in a preview of the president's Thursday speech.

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