At the moment, CNN is reporting that the GOP has picked-up 52, and perhaps more, seats in the House of Representatives and has therefore taken control of the House. Meanwhile, the Senate will remain in the hands of the Democratic Party, although with a smaller margin. Most important for the nation’s human space flight program, it is unlikely that the bipartisan spirit that both houses have shown for our nation’s space program will change with the change of leadership in the House. That is not to say however that change is not coming. It is.
The first change will be NASA’s Appropriations bill. During the House floor debate concerning passage of the 2010 NASA Authorization Act, House Appropriations Committee member Rep. Culberson made it clear that the Act, which originated in the Senate as S. 3729, was in need of serious repair, which would be addressed when it came time to write NASA’s Appropriation Bill. While there was a good chance that this would be the case regardless of the Party running the Appropriations Committee, with the GOP’s victory, it is a certainty.
In gaining control over the House Committee responsible for NASA Authorizations, the team of Rep. Hall and Olsen can be counted on to force answers from those in the Obama Administration responsible for the political and policy debacle that was the President’s proposed changes in the nation’s human space flight program. It’s important to remember that it was Rep. Hall, the likely incoming Chairman of Science & Technology, who said of the President’s space proposal, “I’m so mad, I can’t even see straight!” The truth about the who and the how of NASA’s attempt to strangle Constellation, the 2010 Omnibus language preserving Constellation as the Program of Record” will emerge. We doubt that the truth will set anyone free.
For those who have worked so hard to preserve our nation’s human space flight program, tonight is their night. While space may not have been the premier policy driving the change in Congress, the traits of the Administration that drove it to conceive that policy, especially the lack of transparency of the policy’s creation, are. Tonight is a sign that the American people want their wishes taken into account when changing their nation. We hope for the country that the Administration is listening.