Tea Party in Space Action Alert

Overview

Time Required: 20 Minutes or less

Actions Required: One phone call and one email

When: Monday July 11th and Tuesday July 12th

What: Contact your Representative’s DC office and ask them to tell the House Appropriations Committee leadership to stop supporting the Space Launch System Earmark and Bailout and ask to compete the contracts for the Space Launch System. Then email the results of your phone conversation to: [email protected]

Friends,

As we know, we must be ever vigilant as our elected officials begin the 2012 budget cycle. While the appropriations committee did brave work as we begin to rightsizing NASA, it was all negated by a single action. Both sides of the aisle have pledged to end earmarks, yet one still remains: The Space Launch System. This earmark bails out NASA and government contractors who failed the nation with the Constellation program at a cost of AT LEAST $11 billion dollars. By funding this earmark and bailout, the congress has circumvented the free market which could save the taxpayers billions of dollars.

The NASA science budget has been slashed, the Commercial Crew budget has been massacred, and the technology demonstration budget has been sent to the gallows. Here are some of the results of the Space Launch System devouring the NASA Budget:

– The subcommittee recommended the Space Technology budget receive $375 million when $1.024 billion was requested – the Space Launch System was increased
– The subcommittee recommended Commercial Crew budget receive $300 million when $850 million was requested – the Space Launch System was increased

Where is the fiscal responsibility promised to us from this House? Where is the limited government promised to us from this House? Where is the reliance on the Free Market promised to us from this House? It is trying to be ripped away from us by lobbyists and special interest groups supporting the Space Launch System.

The next critical step in the FY’12 NASA budget process will be the full Appropriations Committee markup of this bill, scheduled for next Wednesday morning July 13th. It is time for us, the TEA Party in Space to make our presence known on this important issue. This is why we need you to call your Congressman by Tuesday midday at latest, so there’s time for them to pass word on to the Appropriations Committee leaders.

We need as many of you as possible to call and ask for an end to the earmark and bailout and yes to the competition of contracts for the Space Launch System – numbers count. TEA Party in Space always thought 2008 levels of funding were possible, we actually regressed back further. NASA must accept these cuts in our current economic situation. However, where these cuts come from inside the budget makes all the difference. The Space Launch System should not enjoy growth while the rest of the budget suffers.

You don’t have to worry about having great sales skills to make this call, you just need to get the appropriate staffer (or their voicemail) on the line, then state what you want clearly enough that your call ends up counted in the proper column. If you possibly can, get others to call too. Numbers very much matter here.

Talking Points: Why Demand Competition for the Space Launch System

Space Launch System Earmark and Bailout:

– The Space Launch System is just the Constellation program under a different name. The Space Launch System will use the same contractors building the same systems. It is a earmark aimed at bailing them out.
– The Space Launch System infrastructure is expensive and out of date. The majority of the infrastructure was designed for the Apollo program. Now NASA will be forced to put a round peg through a square hole, again.
– The Space Launch System kills jobs in the private sector which can build and develop the same capability for less saving the taxpayers billions of dollars
– The Space Launch System retards NASA’s ability to develop new, important technologies to explore and develop space
– The Space Launch System increases the time that the United States must rely on Russia for human access to space

NASA Commercial Crew Program:

– With Shuttle retired, America will totally depend on Russia to launch our astronauts to the Space Station, paying them hundreds of millions of dollars every year. And Russia keeps raising their prices… up 175% in just six years, to over $60 million a seat and climbing.
– Full funding at $850 million will allow Commercial Crew to support the fastest possible development of multiple competing safe affordable US-made vehicles.
– Commercial Crew will create high-tech, high-paying jobs right here, right now.
– Commercial Crew is the quickest, cheapest way to close the Gap in U.S. human spaceflight and get maximum use out of our hundred billion dollar Space Station.
– Fully funding Commercial Crew will let multiple US crew vehicles fly.
– restoring US leadership in space.
– creating competition which lowers costs and drives innovation.
– providing multiple backups for better safety and less risk of delay.

NASA Space Technology Program:

– Basic space technology development has been neglected in the US for decades.
– NASA is still stuck with space technology developed in the 1970s.
– Fully funding Space Technology at 1,024 million will allow NASA to start making up for lost time across a wide range of high-payoff technologies.
– We’re barely ahead of Russia and China at this point. America must invest in new technology to regain our world technological leadership.
– New technologies like propellant depots and high-efficiency propulsion will dramatically lower the cost of sending astronauts further into the solar system.
– Developing new space technologies will also enable new US commercial space industries, creating even more US jobs and economic return from our space program.

Specific Actions: Contacting Congress

– If you don’t already know your Representative’s name, political party and DC office phone number, grab an old utility bill and look them up via your 9-digit zip code at https://www.govtrack.us/congress/findyourreps.xpd.
– Call their DC office. (Be calm and polite throughout, please – the idea is to have your opinion heard, not to vent frustrations or make enemies.)
– Tell whoever answers the phone that you’re from the Representative’s district, and you’d like to speak to the person who handles NASA appropriations issues. Ask for that staffer’s voicemail if they’re not available. (If you’re given a choice between a NASA person and an Appropriations person, go with Appropriations.)
– Politely tell that staffer your name, that you live in the Congressman/woman’s district, and that you do not support funding for NASA’s Space Launch System as it is an $11 billion dollar earmark and bailout.
– Then , if your Representative is a Republican, ask that they pass on your requests to Hal Rogers (R, Kentucky, Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.)
– If your Representative is a Democrat, ask that they pass on your requests to Norm Dicks (D, Washington State, Ranking Minority Member of the House Appropriations Committee.)
– If your Representative happens to *be* Hal Rogers or Norm Dicks, congratulations! Ask the staffer to pass on your request to the Congressman.
– If the staffer has any questions, answer them as best you can, then politely end the call. (One specific question they may ask, given the set ceiling on overall available funding for this bill, is “what’s your offset?” IE, what should they cut to get the money for your programs? If they ask you this, tell them you think Commercial Crew and Space Technology programs should be fully funded with the cuts to the Space Launch System.
– After you call please drop us a note at [email protected] and let us know how it went.

Conclusion

The things we care about at NASA – The Space Launch System via its earmark and bailout is fiscally irresponsible, another example of big government, and destroys competition in the free market. Moreover, it makes the United States reliant on Russia to launch astronauts into space. Programs at NASA that are fiscally responsible, limited in government and access the free markets are being systematically targeted for cuts. Programs like Commercial Crew & Cargo, Commercial Reusable Suborbital, Space/Exploration Technology, Propellant Depots, etc, all things that bear on lower cost space transportation for the future – are being cut back. If we take things for granted, those cutbacks could easily become outright cancellations. Phone calls from you and your friends could make the difference. We all care about liberty. We all care about America’s leadership roll in space. Only through our political activism will we ensure we keep both!

Please share this action alert with all your friends and neighbors who care about America’s space program.

Thank you for your patriotism,
Andrew Gasser
President, TEA Party in Space