Senator Bob Bennett, R-Utah, says he and fellow Senator Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, are teaming up with Congressman Rob Bishop, R-District 1, in trying to save NASA’s Constellation and Ares programs which President Barack Obama wants to eliminate.
In a radio news conference, Sen. Bennett said besides losing valuable space programs it would mean the loss of thousands of jobs at ATK Systems in Box Elder County.
Sen. Bennett says he has hopes of turning it around. He says the only way that could be changed is through the appropriations process by refusing to appropriate money for the program the President is favoring. Congress can appropriate “money for Ares and Constellation and say, ‘this is what you have to do, Mr. President,’” Sen. Bennett says.
It’s a risky move politically, Sen. Bennett says, because it’s an earmarking tactic. “I know there’s people that say, ‘gee, you shouldn’t be earmarking.’ But the Constitution gives the Congress the power to determine how the money should be spent,” he explained.
“I think we should exercise our Constitutional responsibility and not cede that power to the President. Just because he has made the decision he doesn’t want the money spent in this way, we should make the decision we are the Congress and we are going to say, ‘we are writing it in to the laws that you must spend the money on Ares and move forward with this program.’”
Sen. Bennett said congressional members from Utah are reaching out to leaders from other states affected by the President’s proposal to aid in their fight to save the programs. “There will be as strong an effort by the Utah delegation, along with delegations from other states. We have some Democratic allies as well as Republicans to say, ‘Mr. President you’ve made the wrong decision.’”
Sen. Bennett also said the President’s proposal does not save taxpayers money, but in fact costs them more.