When it was announced on January 8th that Ted Cruz would be the lastest senator in charge of overseeing NASA, many believed that the budget-cutting representative would whittle the space agency down to nothing. Well, at least a partial look at Cruz’s plans was released to the press on Wednesday, and surprisingly the Senator claims he intends to make NASA stronger. That’s Ted Cruz, the man who tried to defund the whole freaking U.S. government in a foolish attempt to overturn the democratically enacted Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare, a.k.a. Death Panels).
According to Business Insider:
In his statement, which was titled “Focus NASA on Its Core Mission: Exploring Space, and More of It,” Cruz said he wants to expand the U.S. space program.
“In 1962, President John F. Kennedy laid down a marker for space exploration that inspired a generation of Americans to reach for the stars, recognizing that the race to the heavens was nothing less than a crucial front in the battle between freedom and tyranny,” Cruz said.
Okay, now we’re getting somewhere. Broad claims about freedom and tyranny are the bread-and-butter of politicians like Ted Cruz. That’s cool, he gets to pound his chest as a patriot and we get our awesome photographs from deep space. But Cruz didn’t stop there, in keeping with his Cold War-era reasoning for supporting NASA he says it’s really all about keeping those damn Russkies in their place. His statement continues:
“More than 50 years later, we have lost sight of that clarion call. Russia’s status as the current gatekeeper of the International Space Station could threaten our capability to explore and learn, stunting our capacity to reach new heights and share innovations with free people everywhere,” said Cruz. “The United States should work alongside our international partners, but not be dependent on them. We should once again lead the way for the world in space exploration.”
Cruz is referring to the fact that America has been paying Russia about $70 million per seat to fly our astronauts to the International Space Station. Of course, NASA has already signed contracts with SpaceX and Boeing to start handling the flights as well, which brings the power back into American hands — but that wouldn’t have been necessary if budget cuts hadn’t ended shuttle missions back in 2011. Again, if feeling like he’s sticking to Putin helps Cruz sleep better at night and we still get our sick images from the Mars rover, fine by us.
One last thing. Cruz is a Senator from Texas and NASA has a big operation in Texas, so ya know … JOBS. Here’s how he frames bringing home the bacon for his state:
Texas has a major stake in space exploration. Our space program marks the frontier of future technologies for defense, communications, transportation and more, and our mindset should be focused on NASA’s primary mission: exploring space and developing the wealth of new technologies that stem from its exploration. And commercial space exploration presents important new opportunities for us all.
There you have it, NASA has accomplished one more incredible thing that was previously thought to be impossible. We actually agree with Ted Cruz.