Will continue to focus on Johnson Space Center and a vision for NASA

WASHINGTON, DC – Last night Rep. Nick Lampson was elected the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics for the U.S. House Science Committee by his Democratic colleagues on the committee. Rep. Lampson has represented the Johnson Space Center since he was elected to Congress in 1996.

“I will continue my longstanding commitment to theJohnson Space Center as the highest ranking Democratic member on the Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee. I will fight to ensure that the Johnson Space Center receives the funding and support it needs. The Johnson Space Center is an enormous economic engine for Houston and all of Southeast Texas. It is single handily responsible for tens of thousands of high-tech jobs for the area. Furthermore, it is huge source of pride for the people of Houston.

“The President’s plan to go to Mars is exciting for NASA, and its goals are very similar to those of the Space Exploration Act that I introduced,” said Lampson. “The challenge for the President and Congress will be in turning those goals into reality in a manner that doesn’t damage NASA’s other important programs, or take away from other domestic commitments.”

Lampson also spoke on the House floor today in support of S. 610, the NASA Workforce Flexibility Act of 2003. “While it doesn’t address all of the important issues facing the NASA workforce, it is the only NASA workforce bill we are likely to get out of this Congress,” said Lampson on the House floor. ”

“NASA’s management has said that they need this workforce legislation, and I am prepared to support it, because I care deeply about the dedicated men and women who work at NASA. Yet simply increasing the size of the bonuses available to NASA employees is not a cure-all, especially if NASA isn’t making full use of its existingbonus authority-a possibility that is being investigated by NASA’s IG as we speak,” Lampson continued.

“And I don’t believe that NASA’s ‘best and brightest’ are motivated primarily by money anyway.

Rather, I think it’s the chance to work on cutting-edge R&D and to attempt the near-impossible that attracts them to NASA, and what will keep them there,” said Lampson. “I intend to take a close look at NASA’s plans for the Space Station and the Space Shuttle as we review the FY 2005 budget request over the coming months. We owe it to the NASA workforce to ask the tough questions.”