Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Sandy Adams Responds
Rep. Sandy Adams' district includes Kennedy Space Center.
On March 22, I sent a letter to Space Coast Rep. Sandy Adams asking her to "cease writing and speaking nonsensical remarks like trying to frighten people with a non-existent Chinese threat." I promised to post any reply I received. I never did.
I wrote Adams again on August 14 after a report that the Republican House majority intends to severely cut funding for Kennedy Space Center modernization, known as the 21st Century Launch Complex program.
Fifty two days later, I have received a reply from Rep. Adams to my August 14 letter. Below is the complete text.
October 5, 2011
Thank you for contacting me in regards to funding for the 21st Century Launch Complex (21CLC) in the House Appropriations process.
The Congressional appropriations process contains certain rules and practices for the appropriations measures and is under the authority of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees. The Appropriations Committee has twelve subcommittees, each having jurisdiction over a single annual appropriations bill to provide funding for departments and agencies under the subcommittee's jurisdiction.
Funding for NASA is addressed in the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Subcommittee of the full House Appropriations Committee. This year, the funding for the 21CLC was in fact reduced to $60 million in the Appropriations Committee's version of the bill. You may not be aware that the full bill has not been brought to the floor for a vote.
I do not agree with the committee's assessment of a lower priority on the 21CLC in the appropriations bill. While I do indeed understand the need for fiscal restraint, I also believe the 21CLC is critical in the development of our space program. The process for amending appropriations bills thus far has been what is referred to as an "open rule" process which provides an opportunity for every member in the House to ask for a vote on amendments to the bill, unfortunately the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill has not yet been brought to the floor for debate.
Additionally, I would like to bring your attention to legislation I filed in the House to help the Space Coast recover from the President's cancelation of the Constellation program without any plan for the future, H.R. 2712, the Shuttle Workforce Revitalization Act of 2011. H.R. 2712 designates all of Brevard County as a HUBZone under the Small Business Administration. The HUBZone program was originally started as a way to help economically distressed areas recover from various economic problems. In the case of a military base closing in a small town, the HUBZone program as well as other economic incentives are used to help the town make the transition. I liken the cancelation of the Shuttle program to the loss of a military base. The Shuttle program employed tens of thousands of people in various industries and various areas of the state, but the majority of them are situated in Brevard County.
This program does not designate federal dollars to be specifically used for Brevard County and it does not cost the government any additional money, it simply gives a competitive advantage to those small businesses that qualify for the program. For example, if the Department of Defense was going to spend $100 million on rocket development, the HUBZone program sets a goal of awarding $3 million to a Hubzone company anywhere throughout the nation. If the Congress decides the Department of Defense will only spend $50 million on rocket development, then the goal is to award $1.5 million to a HUBZone company.
I believe there are many creative ways to grow jobs on the Space Coast and throughout the country, this bill is one such answer. It will not cost taxpayers any additional money and it will stimulate growth in Brevard County by giving small businesses on the Space Coast a small advantage in federal contracting dollars.
Thank you again for contacting me; it is a privilege and a pleasure to serve you. Should you need anything, please do not hesitate to contact my office. For more information, or to stay informed on important issues, I encourage you to sign up for my electronic newsletter at http://adams.house.gov/.
Member of Congress