On May 5, 1961, Alan Shepard became the first American in space. Since then, there has been no turning back for the U.S. space program and we have led the world in space exploration ever since. Throughout the next 50 years, NASA would land astronauts on the moon, launch the Hubble space telescope and help build the International Space Station (ISS).
However, the President now wants to severely downgrade the one task which makes NASA unique -- human exploratory space flight. On February 1, 2010, the Administration announced a budget which proposes to eliminate the NASA Constellation program. Since that time, NASA has canceled the awarding of contracts or put on hold parts of numerous contracts which were a part of the regular fiscal year 2010 work for the Constellation program, despite the fact that Congress must first approve its termination before it becomes final policy.
President Obama and NASA are putting American jobs in jeopardy because of a drastic proposal that isn’t even actual law. This plan put forth by the President is simply that – a plan, and NASA should not be assuming that this plan will be approved by Congress.
Since February, I have fought the President’s proposal to cancel Constellation because it will forfeit America’s leadership in space and it will cut thousands of jobs in Alabama and the entire nation. During the last month, contractors, under intense pressure from NASA regarding contract termination liability, have already begun laying off workers and canceling subcontracts, despite the fact that Congress has not approved the President’s proposal. That’s why I have introduced the “Protecting Human Space Flight Act of 2010” this week. This bill directs NASA to use FY2010 appropriated funds for what it was intended to do – work on the Constellation program, not a termination liability account.
President Obama has been saying for years that the goal of his Administration is to save or create American jobs. With the President’s new proposal for NASA, he is doing just the opposite.