WASHINGTON, D.C.-On the heels of the IMCE task force report being adopted by the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the International Space Station (ISS) partners have now formally begun to petition Congress and the Bush Administration about the radical restructuring of the program.

“I can understand the concerns voiced by our international partners,” said U.S. Representative Dave Weldon, M.D.Ê “In this project the United States gave its commitments to these nations.Ê Now they fear that it appears that we are cutting and running.Ê For years we, the United States, lambasted the Russians for their poor level of cooperation.Ê Now we look very hypocritical.”

The European Space AgencyÊ (ESA) stated in letters to Congress and the U.S. Department of State that they view the current ISS plans with “considerable concern.”Ê Canada has also been vocal about their serious concerns regarding the OMB plan.

“This unilateral restructuring of ISS by OMB could not have come at a worse time.Ê In the middle of this month, the ESA partners are meeting to decide whether they should further support ISS operation and utilization.Ê The fact that the Europeans have to ask the State Department for clarification of Administration ISS policy has shown OMB’s action to be one-sided, short sighted and wholly inappropriate.Ê I hope that our international partners will receive more answers that the Congress did this week,” Weldon concluded.