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Public Statements

Conference Report on S. 1281, National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2005

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Location: Washington, DC


CONFERENCE REPORT ON S. 1281, NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION AUTHORIZATION ACT OF 2005 -- (House of Representatives - December 17, 2005)

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Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts. Mr. Speaker, if someone had said some of the most fiscally, self-proclaimed, conservative members of the House were going to come to the floor and ask us to spend $100 billion or $200 billion on a nonessential project, people would have said, when pigs fly. Well, that is this bill. Did you see who got up to speak? Everybody who has got a NASA facility. The pork is very much in this bill, but it is flying pork. So this is literally the occasion when pigs fly, at least in the nature of pork, when all of the representatives of the NASA places come up here.

Now, I agree with the gentleman from New York and my friend from Cleveland.

Mr. KUCINICH. Mr. Speaker, will the gentleman yield?

Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts. I yield briefly to my friend from Ohio.

Mr. KUCINICH. I just want to, for the record, state that I am a vegan. I do not consume pork.

Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts. The gentleman may not consume pork, but he sure produces it.

The fact is that we are about to take up a continuing resolution that will make severe cuts in many, many important programs here on earth, and we will be told that the problem is the fiscal constraints. Members will lament the fact that we cannot adequately fund health care and environment and transportation and other things, and then we vote for a bill that says, as a binding policy, we are going to send a man to Mars. My friend from Missouri asks me, well, what happens when he gets there? Well, he comes back. That is why it is so expensive.

I agree about what was said about aeronautics; it is so important. I agree with space experimentation, primarily unmanned. But sending human beings to Mars, which this bill unfortunately endorses, is an extravagance; it is a psychological stunt. The amount of scientific gain you get comes from the aeronautics, from the unmanned space, even from some of the manned space in a more limited way. But when I first got here, we were told we had to do the space shuttle because we had to compete with the Soviet Union, and I did not think it was a good idea, the space station, not the space shuttle. Then the Cold War ended, and now we are told we have to keep doing the space station to cooperate with the Soviet Union. If we go a few more years, we will have to do it in memory of the Soviet Union.

There is a determination to spend far beyond any rational principle. I agree with much of what is here, but going to Mars? A country that faces the fiscal problems we face? We are quibbling, we are arguing over how well to protect New Orleans: Do we go to category 3 or category 4? But then in this parallel universe, we are going to spend $200 billion to send men to Mars. Of course, you can tell it is a parallel universe; it is the one no one lives in; it is the one where they are willing to spend money.

So as you are told to accept the tough cuts that the gentleman from Wisconsin is going to outline when you vote for that CR and when you try to tell people back home, ``I am sorry, I could not give you money for health care and for education and for the environment and for transportation,'' remember that you are mortgaging that with this useless piece of flying pork of sending men to Mars.

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Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts. Mr. Speaker, will the gentleman yield?

Mr. BOEHLERT. I yield to my colleague from Massachusetts.

Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts. I thank the gentleman. And I have never been happier that it is the Hall of Fame and not NASA that is in Cooperstown.

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