GOP to gain control of NASA oversight

Nov. 4, 2010 at 7:17 PM
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WASHINGTON, Nov. 4 (UPI) -- Two vocal critics of U.S. President Barack Obama's new direction for NASA will assume leadership of committees that oversee the space agency, observers say.

With Republicans gaining control of the House, Reps. Frank Wolf, R-Va., and Ralph Hall, R-Texas, who are expected to assume leadership of key NASA oversight committees, have criticized the president's plans to cancel the nation's moon program and outsource crew transit to and from low-Earth orbit, reported Thursday.

Wolf is the ranking member of the powerful House Appropriations Commerce, Justice, and Science and Subcommittee, which oversees NASA spending, and will likely assume the panel's chairmanship come January.

He has been a vocal critic of Obama's plans for NASA, claiming the president is effectively ceding U.S. leadership in space.

"We would turn over the American space program to allow China to catch us," Wolf said when the White House sent lawmakers a new NASA budget blueprint in February.

Hall is the ranking member of the House Science and Technology Committee, which oversees NASA policy and decides overall funding levels for congressional appropriation consideration.

Hall, expected to assume the committee's chairmanship next year, initially supported a House version of the authorization bill that would have gutted funding for Obama's commercial crew initiative.

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