Chairman Rockefeller's Opening Remarks for NASA Budget Hearing

May 21, 2009

Good afternoon, and welcome to our witness, Acting Administrator, Mr. Christopher Scolese. Thank you for taking the time to join us and participate in our discussion. I look forward to your testimony. I would also like to express my sincere regret for not being in attendance for this important hearing.

Our topic this afternoon is the fiscal year 2010 budget request of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

NASA has made its mark in history by inspiring a generation with some of the nation’s most exciting scientific feats. 

Unfortunately, the inspiration of the past has been stuck in the present mire of budget and program mismanagement.

It is my hope that with the new Obama Administration and diligent oversight from this Committee we will be able to fulfill the promise of NASA in a responsible and balanced way.

I have spent many years as a member and Chair of the Aviation Subcommittee on this Committee and I applaud NASA’s work in this area.  NASA Aeronautics research is innovative and greatly contributes to making air travel increasing safer, quieter, and more environmentally friendly.

Climate change research is also of vital importance to this Committee and we are grateful to NASA for providing Earth observation satellites that give scientists the data they need to develop models of pollution, carbon sinks, ice melt, temperature, and much more. 

I am very happy to see that both Aeronautics and Earth Science are receiving increases in funding in this budget. 

However, even as we applaud what is improving we must keep an eye toward the future health of NASA’s budget and program management and do all we can to ensure that NASA continues to break barriers and lead us through the 21st century.

Mr. Scolese, you have been doing an excellent job.  We all appreciate you taking on the huge role and responsibility of Acting Administrator.