Posted by brandoniswrite on September 30, 2011
WASHINGTON — A top Republican from the U.S. House is pressing the White House to offer suggestions on how it would deal with NASA’s troubled James Webb Space Telescope, a program that has broken its budget and schedule and now is expected to cost .7 billion and be done by 2018.
In a letter dated today, U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Virginia, asks the Office of Management and Budget to provide examples on what NASA programs the White House would cut to save Webb, which has seen its budget more than double in recent years. Wolf, who heads the House panel with oversight of NASA spending, had proposed canceling Webb earlier this year but relented after pressure from science groups and Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Maryland, a powerful champion of the program.
Now, though, Wolf wants the White House to take some responsibility for keeping it and offer a plan on what programs must be sacrificed to save Webb, which is designed to peer into the far reaches of the universe and teach scientists more about the time soon after the Big Bang.
“… The Administration has so far failed to identify a single specific proposal to offset the increase in JWST spending above the levels contained in the President’s fiscal year 2012 request. Either no offsets have been proposed because JWST really isn’t a top priority, or the Administration is hoping that remaining silent will force Congress to act unilaterally and thereby take sole ownership of the cuts necessitated by the Administration’s actions.
“No matter which explanation is correct, continuing silence is neither fair nor acceptable to the Congress and to members of the scientific community who will be deeply impacted by the ultimate outcome of the JWST debate,” Wolf wrote.
See the full letter here: 09-28-11 – NASA – Letter to Lew re JWST
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