Tea Party Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) is leading the fight to save the International Space Station from being abandoned by the U.S. government. Space travel and exploration have long been an inspiration for Americans, yet not much has happened since the retirement of the Space Shuttle. While our federal government is rife with waste, fraud and abuse, it is time to continue to help Sen. Cruz save the space station.

Our nation is retreating from space with a bureaucratic decision to defund the space station in 2025 being pushed by this Administration’s Office of Management and Budget despite the president’s renewed commitment to space exploration. President Donald Trump on June 30, 2017 issued an executive order on the National Space Council and stated, “We’re a nation of pioneers, and the next great American frontier is space. And we never completed — we started, but we never completed. We stopped. But now we start again.” One way to complete the promise is to be more aggressive and increase the American commitment to space travel – not retreat.

Ending direct government funding for the International Space Station would stop funding for the only existing laboratory dedicated to human space travel. The station is engaging in important scientific study, yet some want this asset handed over to private companies with little incentive to continue to use the space station as intended. Giving away this important asset to private companies sounds more like a giveaway, than a good idea. Senator Ted Cruz understands the value of the government investment in the space station.

The International Space Station is an amazing engineering achievement. It has advanced knowledge of how humans can live in space. This knowledge is necessary for the next step – operating in deep space and on long exploration missions. The cooperation in the administration of the space station between competing nations is one of the few examples of where people from many nations can work together to forward scientific research for humanity as a whole. NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, also a Tea Party favorite, should understand the need for the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to back away from the idea of abandoning the space station.

This act by the government to set an arbitrary date to end funding for the space station makes no sense. If Administrator Bridenstine were to set up specific criteria for a transition to transfer to commercial operators, then that would provide a set of goals to reach before a transition to private administration would be viable. When one looks at the ups and downs experienced by companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin, they seem like the play toys of the super-rich, rather than serious attempts to explore space.

Conservative Senator Cruz made the case at a hearing in May of this year that “prematurely cancelling NASA programs for political reasons costs jobs and wastes billions of dollars.” He also made the case at the hearing that no Member of Congress has requested an end to federal funding of the space station. Congress retains the Article I of the Constitution power to fund, or not fund, projects. The power of the purse resides with the elected members of Congress and not government bureaucrats.  The Constitution requires the Congress, not the executive branch, to make these decisions.

The International Space Station is the largest human structure ever placed into space and has been continuously occupied since 2000. Senator Cruz is fighting a smart fight to not abandon the U.S. presence in the station.  At a time when “America First” is the motto of the Trump Administration, a decision to abandon the space station would put America last. 

Retreating from the International Space Station and giving away government assets to private companies that have yet to prove that they are more than a billionaire’s hobby would be an epic mistake. Thankfully a Tea Party minded senator – Ted Cruz – is in Congress to protect the U.S. taxpayer from an arbitrary and wasteful decision by unelected government bureaucrats.

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