Press Release

Weldon Passes Vital NASA Amendment

By SpaceRef Editor
July 12, 2007
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Weldon Passes Vital NASA Amendment

Appropriations Committee Adopts Weldon Amendment to Prepare for Workforce Transition After Shuttle

Washington, DC…Following months of intense pressure and lobbying from U.S. Rep. Dave Weldon M.D. (R-FL), the House Appropriations Committee today approved a spending bill that gives NASA a $1.3 billion increase from 2007 and $290 million above the President’s 2008 request. Weldon, who has been leading the charge to get NASA’s budget back on track after recent cuts to the manned space program, also successfully added an amendment to the bill that will help protect NASA jobs as the agency plans the upcoming transition from the Shuttle to the Constellation.

According to Weldon, NASA workers represent some of the nation’s “best and brightest” and ensuring their future must be a top priority, particularly now that Congress has agreed to retire the Shuttle.

“The highly skilled workers and contractors who support NASA’s manned space are a tremendous asset to our country,” said Weldon, who represents thousands of NASA workers at Kennedy Space Center (KSC). “Today’s amendment will require NASA to report to Congress a comprehensive, forward-looking plan that addresses the flight gap employment between the Shuttle and the Constellation, and beyond. With NASA fully funded, the goal is to provide its workforce insight about what new tasks they will be assigned.”

NASA recently released a Shuttle/Constellation transition plan. While he commended NASA’s effort, Weldon expressed concern that the plan did not sufficiently address, among other things, future challenges to NASA’s contractor workforce, which comprises the bulk of KSC jobs. Weldon noted that only one page of the 44-page report was devoted to that difficult issue.

“NASA workers and their families deserve more than a general outline of how the agency intends to keep their jobs operational during the transition,” Weldon continued. “My amendment will encourage more thorough planning and open communication between NASA’s leadership and its workforce.”

Specifically, Weldon’s amendment holds NASA accountable by requiring the agency to provide specific details of how it will integrate the current Shuttle workforce into the Constellation program and other NASA initiatives that may need to be reassigned to the various centers within NASA. Among other things, the measure requires NASA to prepare a detailed list of job transitioning initiatives, a strategy for implementation, and semi-annual progress reports to Congress and workers whose jobs could be affected by the transition.

SpaceRef staff editor.