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Sen. Cruz: ‘Prematurely Cancelling NASA Programs for Political Reasons Costs Jobs and Wastes Billions of Dollars’

Advocates for continued funding for the International Space Station until 2028

May 17, 2018

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Space, Science, and Competitiveness, recently chaired a hearing titled: “The Future of the International Space Station”. Sen. Cruz has been a strong supporter of the continued operation of the ISS and has advocated for federal funding to continue until at least 2028. During the hearing he focused his line of questioning to expert witnesses on the consequences of eliminating funding for ongoing NASA programs.

Several news outlets covered Sen. Cruz’s remarks and line of questioning at the hearing. Selected news coverage is below:

The Hill: Cruz slams proposal to end funding for space station
“Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) is blasting a proposal to end funding for the International Space Station (ISS) and vowing to fight for the program. Cruz told representatives from NASA that lawmakers were united behind the program during a hearing Wednesday on the ‘Future of the International Space Station’ before the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Space, Science, and Competitiveness. ‘Nowhere in federal statute is there a request from Congress seeking a hard deadline to end federal support for ISS,’ said Cruz, the subpanel's chairman.” 

SpaceNews: Senators, inspector general question NASA ISS transition plans
“At the hearing, Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), chairman of the space subcommittee, and Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), ranking member of the full Senate Commerce Committee, reiterated their opposition to the proposal included in NASA’s fiscal year 2019 budget request to end funding of the ISS in 2025 and transition to commercial facilities in low Earth orbit. ‘Nowhere in federal statute is there a request from Congress seeking a hard deadline to end federal support for ISS, to cross our fingers and hope for the best,’ Cruz said in his opening statement, comparing such a ‘premature’ end to the retirement of the space shuttle and cancellation of the Constellation program. ‘Prematurely cancelling a program for political reasons costs jobs and wastes billions of dollars.’”

ArsTechnica: Bipartisan pair of senators blast plan to end space station in seven years
“During his questioning, Cruz did not hide his parochial concerns. He asked NASA's William Gerstenmaier, the agency's chief of human exploration, how the end of the station would affect Johnson Space Center in Houston. This center manages the International Space Station and houses the cadre of flight controllers who monitor the vehicle's health and keep it flying. In reality, the administration's decision would probably be devastating, but Gerstenmaier asserted that maybe commercial interests would help the space center along. […] Both Cruz and Nelson hammered the White House Office of Management and Budget as the unseen hand behind the 2025 date, saying it was forcing the premature end of yet another NASA program. No one from the White House budget office was on the panel to defend it. However, if someone were, they probably would have said that with several commercial companies expressing an interest in low Earth orbit stations, it's prudent to at least study how quickly they can get into service and allow NASA to focus its human exploration program on deep space.”

The Verge: Trump’s plan to privatize the ISS by 2025 probably won’t work, NASA’s inspector general says
"An extension is something that both Cruz and Nelson adamantly support. The two senators, both of whom represent states with major NASA centers that oversee the ISS, were vocal about stopping the administration’s plans. ‘Let me be clear: as long as I’m chairman of this subcommittee, the ISS will continue to have strong support — strong bipartisan support — in the United States Congress,’ Cruz said in his opening statement. […] Cruz maintained that ending the ISS program early without a suitable replacement would be a disaster for NASA. ‘Prematurely canceling a program for political reasons costs jobs and wastes billions of dollars,’ he said. He also argued that setting the 2025 date was an arbitrary decision not backed by science.” 

The Daily Caller: Cruz Bashes ‘Deeply Troubling’ International Space Station Funding Cut
“Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz slammed a ‘deeply troubling’ proposal to end federal funding to the International Space Station (ISS) on Wednesday. ‘As long as Article 1 of the Constitution remains intact, it will be Congress that is the final arbiter of how long ISS receives federal funding,’ Cruz said, stressing the importance of congressional control in spending. ‘Nowhere in federal statute is there a request from Congress seeking a hard deadline to end federal support for ISS.’ President Donald Trump’s administration reportedly wants to end federal funding by 2025 to ISS, which costs the federal government about $3 to $4 billion a year The Daily Caller News Foundation reported in February.” 

Watch Sen. Cruz’s remarks and line of questioning during the hearing here

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