MarkWhittington writes "Sen. Bill Nelson, D-FL, chairman of the Senate Space and Science Subcommittee of the Commerce Committee, unveiled his version of the 2013 NASA Authorization bill on July 17, 2013. It has a funding level of just over $18 billion, which matches what the Senate appropriators are advancing, and confirms the Obama administration’s desire to snag an asteroid and visit it with astronauts in the next decade. The draft bill also presents the ranking member of the subcommittee, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas with something of a conundrum.
On the one hand Cruz, as a tea party conservative, believes in small government and frugal spending. The senate version of the NASA bill is roughly $1.5 billion more than the House version, crafted by Cruz’s fellow Republicans. Based on Cruz’s spending hawk stance, he should oppose the subcommittee bill.
On the other hand, Cruz is a senator from Texas, a state where space has always been important due to the presence of NASA’s Johnson Spaceflight Center and increasingly because of the operations of commercial space firms such as SpaceX and Blue Origins in the Lone Star State. Cruz has also expressed support for NASA and commercial space. Based on that, Cruz should be inclined to support the senate funding level for NASA."
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