10 September 1999
CONGRESSIONAL CUTS TO NASA WILL DEVASTATE U.S. SPACE LEADERSHIP
The Fiscal Year 2000 budget for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration as passed last night by the U.S. House of Representatives will devastate U.S. space leadership, the National Space Society said today. The budget passed late Thursday cuts $1 billion from the civil space agency's proposed budget for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1st.
"It's another example of irresponsible beltway politics that makes a political football of our children's future in science and technology," said NSS Executive Director Pat Dasch. "Restoration of these cuts is essential to maintaining the growth of commercial space business," Dasch added.
The National Space Society and its 20,000 members worldwide fought to reverse the action of the House Appropriations Committee last August, which recommended the cuts the full House approved Thursday. "We are extremely disappointed that the voices of our members, the space science community and the professional societies were ignored," said Dasch. The cuts will cripple NASA's technological research programs, science missions, and other space projects that Dasch said were critical investments for future space goals and as building blocks for the growing U.S. commercial space community.
Dasch recalled that members of Congress who supported these cuts had just hailed the recent 30th anniversary of the Apollo era and the Apollo 11 lunar landing. "Just weeks after celebrating the "Golden Age" of Apollo, these members of Congress have turned their backs on any future age of space exploration, or returning Americans to the Moon or exploring Mars," Dasch said. "We must ask-where is their vision?"
The next step in the budget approval process calls for the U.S. Senate to pass its own version of the NASA FY2000 budget. A House-Senate conference committee will then try to resolve the two bills if they contain differing amounts. A final version, when approved by both houses of Congress, would then head to President Clinton's desk for signing into law. But Dasch said that the President should veto any bill with such deep cuts to NASA should it reach the White House in that form.
The National Space Society, celebrating 25 years of space education and advocacy, is an independent, non-profit space advocacy organization headquartered in Washington, DC. Its 20,000 members worldwide actively promote the development of a spacefaring civilization. For additional information on NSS and space exploration, visit the NSS website at http://www.nss.org or call 202-543-1900.