HOUSTON – With the Johnson Space Center poised to lose thousands of NASA jobs, ‘Space City, U.S.A.’ may no longer have the means to live up to its name.
On Friday morning, U.S. Senator John Cornyn of Texas accused President Barack Obama of political retaliation.
“The president seems to be targeting states that didn’t support him politically, not a scientific judgment, not a judgment based on human exceptionalism when it comes to space flight, but a political judgment based on what may serve his best interest in 2012,” said Cornyn.
With the space shuttle program set for retirement and the President slamming the door on development of the Constellation rocket, Houston-area lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are scrambling to reason with the Obama administration and preserve thousands of jobs.
“Once we let that human capitol, that brain trust break up, it will take decades to re-assemble it,” warned Houston Mayor Annise Parker.
“I don’t want to walk away from what we have invested here,” said U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison of the billions of dollars spent on developing next generation rockets.
Interwoven with the diplomatic outreach was a commitment to counterattack the President’s Johnson Space Center cuts with legislative action.
“I can’t vote for that budget even if it is a democratic budget,” said Houston-area Congressman Gene Green, a democrat.
“The president has a word on this, but he is not the final word. The United States Congress is the final word,” insisted Republican Congressman Pete Olson, who invited President Obama to visit the Johnson Space Center, which is located in his district.
Houston-area Congressman John Culberson, also a Republican, was more combative.
“The President hasn’t just canceled the mission to the moon.The President has canceled the manned space program, which is unacceptable and will not happen.”