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Priorities, Plans and Progress of the Nation’s Space Program

Mar 7, 2012 | Blog

Senator Rubio presented the following opening statement to today’s hearing on “Priorities, Plans and Progress of the Nation’s Space Program” in the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation:

I want to start by thanking Administrator Bolden and Dr. Tyson for appearing today before our committee. Thank you both for the work you are doing for our nation’s space program.

I think it is safe to say that all of us here today are strong supporters of our space program. We know what NASA is capable of, and we recognize the unique and irreplaceable asset that is our space workforce. 

We want the United States to maintain the lead in human spaceflight, and we all believe in the space program and what it provides for our country.

So the question is how we find a budget that accomplishes all of these things. We know that cuts have to be made to NASA’s budget. They have to be made to every agency’s budget.

Because the bottom line is that our nation faces a debt crisis in the near future because, quite frankly, politicians in both parties have spent recklessly for many decades and been unwilling to reform and save crucial safety net programs that are simply going bankrupt. 

This will require Washington to finally live within its means and for leaders to make tough choices about what our nation’s priorities are.

NASA is no exception. It will not be about spending more. It will be about spending wisely. It will be about balancing priorities.

Everything we discuss at today’s hearing, whether it’s commercial space activities or going to Mars, is all tied to, and affected by, our national debt.

We often hear about how our debt is a burden that hangs around the government’s neck. Or even worse, that it saddles future generations of Americans – my children and future grandchildren – and what they will be able to accomplish in the future.

This is a fact, and our debt will certainly have the same impact on NASA. All of our future exploration plans and technology investments will be impacted by our national debt and by our government’s ability to solve this crisis.

I hope that we discuss these issues today, and I look forward to hearing from Administrator Bolden on how our fiscal crisis is affecting the agency’s ability to plan for the future and accomplish the big things that we know NASA can do.

Mr. Administrator, I hope that you, NASA and Congress can work together to answer these questions.


Below is a picture from the Senator at today’s hearing: 

Rubio Commerce 3/7