Legislative Alert for Pro-space citizens – Action Required by Monday, March 19

Legislative Alert for Pro-space citizens – Action Required by Monday, March 19

March 15, 2012 Action Alerts, Blog, Press Releases

Dear Space Activist,

As you know, the President’s budget for NASA was released last month, meaning Congress is beginning the process of digesting and… well, whatever it is they do with it.

The budget proposes funding increases for two NASA programs of great importance to the grass roots, pro-space exploration, development, and settlement community: Commercial Crew, and Space Technology. The budget requests $827 million for Commercial Crew, and $699 million for Space Technology, and has already provoked some criticism from the usual suspects in Congress.

The good news is that the House of Representatives’ Committee on Appropriations allows any and all Congresspersons to submit “programmatic” funding requests to fully fund, increase, or cut the level of funding for any discretionary federal program.  Requests for specific projects are no longer allowed under the “earmark ban”.  But Members can ask the Committee to provide full funding for “commercial crew” and the “space technology” programs within NASA.

The deadline for such requests being turned in by Members of Congress is in just one week, at 5pm on March 20th.  So we are asking that you to contact your Member of Congress by the close of business on Monday, March 19th on behalf of full funding for Commercial Crew and Space Technology.

What you need to do:

  1. If you do not already know, look up who your U.S. Representative is and find out their DC office phone number.  (To find out, go here and enter your zip code.)
  2. Then, call your Representative’s D.C. office between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. EDT.  Remember to be respectful as well as passionate when you talk to them.
  3. Tell the person who answers the phone that you are a constituent and ask to speak with the staff member who handles “NASA Appropriations” (if they say that is two different people, ask for the “Appropriations” staffer).  Have your talking points ready (see the end of this alert for some suggestions).
  4. When you have the appropriate staff person on the phone, tell them that you…
    • Are a constituent.
    • Would like your Congressman to request that the House Appropriations Committee fully fund NASA’s Commercial Crew and Space Technology Programs.
    • Want them to turn in a Programmatic Funding Request to the Commerce, Justice, Science Subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee on the Committee’s website (see below for specifics).
  5. Listen to what they say in response.  See if they will commit to doing something (at least asking their boss to make this request before the deadline passes).  Thank them for listening, and (hopefully) for agreeing to do whatever they say they will do.  Hang up.
  6. Then WRITE DOWN WHAT THEY SAID and email the name of the Congressman, the staffer’s name, what the staffer said, and any other comments you have to ACT4SPACE@GMAIL.COM so we can keep track of your accomplishments!

Information you will need:

  • A “Dear Colleague” explaining the FY2013 program request process is at appropriations.house.gov
  • The staffer will fill out an online form to make this request, including a signed letter from their boss that confirms the request (they are probably very familiar with this process).
  • Request #1: Commercial Crew
    • Request Type: “Program”
    • Subcommittee/Agency/Account: “Commerce Justice Science, NASA, Exploration”
    • Program Title: “Commercial Spaceflight, Commercial Crew”
    • Description: “Develop new U.S. private sector ISS crew transport systems”
    • Funding: “Support the President’s FY2013 budget request”
    • [They will need to attach a signed letter from their boss endorsing this and any
      other requests they are making]
  • Request #2: Space Technology
    • Request Type: “Program”
    • Subcommittee/Agency/Account: “Commerce Justice Science, NASA, Space Technology”
    • Program Title: “Space Technology”
    • Description: “R&D in new innovative space technologies to open the space frontier to human exploration, development & settlement”
    • Funding: “Support the President’s FY2013 budget request”
    • [They will need to attach a signed letter from their boss endorsing this and any other requests they are making]

Thank you very much for contacting your representative in support of fully funding these critical and innovative NASA program!!!

Suggested Talking Points about Commercial Crew:

  • The CJS bill spends more money in Russia to launch U.S. astronauts than on U.S. companies to develop safer, cheaper, American crew systems.  And Russia keeps raising their prices… up 175% in just six years.
  • Commercial Crew will create high-tech, high-paying jobs for Americans, right now, at a time we need them.
  • Commercial Crew is the quickest, cheapest way to reduce the Gap in U.S. human spaceflight and fully utilize our $100 Billion dollar Space Station
  • Fully funding Commercial Crew will enable multiple systems to fly…
    • demonstrating US leadership in space,
    • creating competition which drives innovation and lowers costs, and
    • provides better safety and less risk with independent backups
  • Without fully funding Commercial Crew, billions of dollars and thousands of jobs will go to Russia, instead of staying home in America.

Suggested Talking Points about Space Technology:

  • NASA is laboring with space technology developed in the 1970s.
  • To lower the cost and extend the duration and distance of human spaceflight, NASA needs technologies that will revolutionize how we explore space.
  • 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 space-based industries, creating even more jobs and economic return from our space program.
  • America needs newer, smarter ways to “do space”, instead of just spending more money to stay ahead of other countries.