Thursday, April 3, 2008

Tom Feeney's Statement on NASA's Workforce Transition Report

Rep. Tom Feeney (R-FL), Co-sponsor of Space Act, HR 4837, to keep the Shuttle alive until Constellation is online, makes statement on NASA's Workforce Transition Report release

Tom Feeney (released) the following statement after NASA's initial workforce transition report was made public:

"NASA's employment forecasts reflect a worst-case scenario. Nevertheless, the numbers are sobering and reflect the magnitude of the challenge ahead of us. Over time, the KSC forecasts will hopefully improve as additional lunar exploration, Ares V, facility construction, space station resupply, and Shuttle transition work is brought to KSC. I will continue to fight to ensure future NASA work is assigned to KSC so we don’t bear the brunt of the Shuttle’s retirement’s fallout.

"After the Shuttle retires, KSC will host important engineering and assembly work supporting lunar exploration. So expanding human spaceflight to the Moon is critical to stabilizing the Kennedy Space Center’s workforce. Any Presidential candidate intent on killing lunar exploration is condemning Florida’s Space Coast to the scenario found in NASA’s initial forecasts.

“I fear that this Administration and this Congress are reverting to pre-Columbia Accident behavior of tasking NASA to do too much with too little. NASA’s resources cannot be shrunk while the agency is charged with maintaining America’s preeminence as a spacefaring nation. We should devote the resources necessary to rapidly bring the Constellation program online after the Shuttle’s retirement so KSC isn’t as severely impacted as forecast in today’s report,” said Feeney.

In the FY07 Omnibus/Continuing Resolution, Congress -- under a newly-elected majority – slashed NASA’s budget by $545 million with that reduction coming from NASA’s current and future human spaceflight programs. In the recently passed FY08 Omnibus, Congress further reduced the agency’s funding through a $192.5 million rescission.

The Administration’s FY09 budget request of $17.6 billion is 1.8% percent above last year’s request. After factoring in inflation, NASA’s resources are shrinking in real terms.