WASHINGTON, D.C.— Following today’s announcement by Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Robert Bennett (R-UT) that the Senate NASA Reauthorization Bill will now include language to authorize funding for a 130 metric ton heavy-lift program, Congressman Rob Bishop (UT-01) released the following statement: “I commend Senators Hatch and Bennett for their tireless efforts within the Senate to ensure that heavy-lift rockets as part of NASA’s space exploration programs include solid rocket motor technology. There is still much work to be done, and while the compromise language doesn’t include everything we wanted, this latest advancement takes us one step closer to preserving a critical component of space exploration as well as national defense. “Thousands of Utahns stand to be disproportionately affected by the President’s proposed plan to terminate the Ares rockets as a part of NASA’s manned space exploration program. In addition to displacing thousands of uniquely skilled space and defense workers, Obama’s earlier plan would severely handicap missile defense capabilities essential to our national defense and the security of our country. It is irresponsible to place the political agendas of few over the safety and security of all. “The Senate compromise announced today represents a significant rejection of the Obama Administration’s earlier pronouncements on heavy-lift and its plan to effectively end U.S. manned spaceflight. I will continue to work with my colleagues in the House of Representatives to ensure that the momentum for compromise generated in the Senate is carried over to the House when it takes up the measure. “Senator Hatch, Senator Bennett and I, along with support from other Congressional colleagues on both sides of the political aisle who support a strong manned space program, will remain vigilant in our fight to ensure that NASA follows every law passed by Congress and that the Administration be stopped from implementing reckless policy decisions.” If the authorized funding for a 130 metric ton heavy-lift program is approved in the Senate NASA Appropriations Bill, NASA would be authorized to begin funding a heavy lift program starting in FY 2011. This is a significant departure from the President’s budget recommendation for NASA to hold off on heavy lift programs until 2016.
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