Should the government continue to fund the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)?
Candidates' positions are categorized as Pro (Yes), Con (No), Not Clearly Pro or Con, or None Found. Candidates who have changed their positions are listed as Now their most recent position. Candidates are listed in alphabetical order by party; black & white photos indicate candidates who have withdrawn or who no longer meet our criteria.)
Bob Barr, former US House Representative (R-GA), in an Aug. 17, 2005 Atlanta Journal-Constitution article titled "U.S. Space Program Loses Lofty Status," stated:
"The glorious space dreams of the 1960s have become penny-pinching exercises in bureaucracy in the 21st century. Bureaucracy and budget cuts have held back needed funding for new programs, but something even greater has been hampering the space program - absence of vision. In the 1960s we had a clear vision to accomplish a goal, used the proper resources and did the job right. The program today appears to have become a bureaucratic stepchild on life support...
Serious consideration ought be given to the idea of privatizing a significant portion of the space program. At least with privatization, lessons from failures like we have seen with NASA would be quickly learned, and corrections made in order to stay in business and move forward. NASA has been allowed to accept mediocrity in its vision, its work and in itself. If privatization is determined not to be in the best interests of the country, then NASA needs to start running the program as if it were a business and not a fat, bureaucratic, government cash cow."
John McCain, US Senator (R-AZ), issued the following statement in a Sep. 15, 2008 article titled "John McCain's Answers to the Top 14 Science Questions Facing America" on www.sciencedebate2008.com:
"The end of the Cold War and the space race has greatly reduced the profile of space exploration as a point of national pride and an emblem of U.S. power and thus created some degree of 'mission-rut' for NASA. At the same time, the scientific community views the use of space as an important observation platform for advancing science by increasing our understanding of the solar system and the universe...Much of our communications infrastructure is dependent upon space based assets that are essential to the quality of our everyday lives and the economy...
As President, I will --
Ensure that space exploration is top priority and that the U.S. remains a leader;
Commit to funding the NASA Constellation program to ensure it has the resources it needs to begin a new era of human space exploration."
[Editor's Note: John McCain on Oct. 16, 2007 voted No on H.R. 3093: Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2008:
"Title III - Science
Science Appropriations Act, 2008 - Makes appropriations for FY2008 for: (1) the Office of Science and Technology Policy; (2) the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for science, aeronautics and exploration research and development activities, and for the Office of Inspector General."]
Cynthia McKinney, former US House Representative (D-GA), issued the following statement through her Press Secretary, John Judge, in a Nov. 2, 2008 email to ProCon.org:
"There are two issues of great concern regarding NASA. The first is the role of NASA in furthering the arms race in space. The second is the use of nuclear fuels to power NASA spacecraft. I am against both and therefore do not support funding for NASA for these purposes." Nov. 2, 2008 Cynthia McKinney
Ralph Nader, attorney, author, and political activist, stated in an Aug. 21, 2008 Q&A teleconference on YouTube:
"As far as NASA and space, you know we're not really big in that, but we don't like manned exploration. It costs far, far too much and is used for PR [public relations] purposes rather than scientific purposes." Aug. 21, 2008Ralph Nader
Barack Obama, US Senator (D-IL), in a July 29, 2008 article titled "NASA's 50th Anniversary: Statement from Sen. Obama" on his official candidate website, stated:
"In recent years, Washington has failed to give NASA a robust, balanced and adequately funded mission. Though the good people of NASA who work day in and day out on new frontiers are doing amazing things, Americans are no longer inspired as they once were. That's a failure of leadership.
I believe we need to revitalize NASA's mission to maintain America's leadership, and recommit our nation to the space program, and as President I intend to do just that. We must revive the American ingenuity that led millions of children look to NASA astronauts and scientists as role models and enter the fields of math, engineering and science. Our leadership in the world depends on it." July 29, 2008 Barack Obama
(Candidates who have withdrawn or who no longer meet our criteria appear below in black and white and in alphabetical order by party.)