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Wolf Vows to Promote U.S. Competitiveness in Space Exploration

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 03-Jan-2013
Updated: 03-Jan-2013 04:09 PM

As the 113th Congress convened for the first time today, Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA), who will continue as chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee that funds NASA and NOAA, vowed to focus "more than ever" on American competitiveness in space exploration.

"Now more than ever, I am focused on promoting American competitiveness in space exploration and research and development, continuing to invest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs in schools, safeguarding public safety against foreign and domestic threats, preventing terrorism in the United States and advancing economic growth and job opportunities for the American people," he said in a press statement.

The Commerce-Justice-Science subcommittee which he chairs has jurisdiction over the Departments of Commerce (including NOAA) and Justice, and science agencies including NASA and the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Considering the breadth of issues, the fact that space was mentioned first is probably a good sign for NASA, but cheering would be premature.  The 113th Congress is immediately facing the prospects of forcing deep cutbacks in government spending overall.   The across-the-board cuts known as the sequester were simply postponed for two months. 

By kicking that can down the road, Congress and the nation did not really avert the fiscal cliff, just postponed the day of reckoning.   The bill that passed in the last moments of the 112th Congress and was signed by the President today resolved some tax issues -- revenue -- but not spending.   President Obama also made clear that he is not done trying to raise more revenue through reform of the tax code, for example, but spending cuts will be the focus of attention as the newly elected and reelected members of the House and Senate get down to business.

Correction:  An earlier version of this article misstated the jurisdiction of the CJS subcommittee.


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