Rebuilding and repairs
to two hurricane-damaged NASA centers in Mississippi and Louisiana
should not be shortchanged when Congress makes budget decisions for
next year, AIA President and CEO John Douglass said.
NASA suffered nearly $1 billion in damages to the Stennis Space
Center in Hancock County, Miss. and the Michoud Assembly Facility
near New Orleans from hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The agency
requested $760 million in the Fiscal 2006 budget, but the Office of
Management and Budget asked for just $325 million. That sum would
be included in a supplemental appropriations bill that is not
slated to be discussed for six months.
"It is vital that Congress addresses the need to repair these
two facilities because of their importance to our space program,"
"We cannot continue the nation's international leadership in
space exploration when hampered by facilities that are not
operating at 100 percent."
AIA's support for a budget request made by eight legislators to
include the full $760 million in Fiscal 2006. In a letter to
Appropriations Committee Chairman Jerry Lewis, the lawmakers
pointed out that NASA Administrator Michael Griffin should not have
to use money from his operating budget to make needed repairs.
The letter stated that waiting for a potential supplemental
funding bill in May for the improvements, which include levee
repairs, upgrading pumps, and hardening facilities against
flooding, would mean nothing would be done until next year's
hurricane season, the letter says.
Congressmen who signed the letter are Ken Calvert (R-Calif.),
Sherwood Boehlert (R-N.Y.), Dana Rohrbacker (R-Calif.), Charlie
Melancon (D-La.), Lamar Smith (R-Texas), Frank Lucas (R-Okla.), Tom
Feeney (R-Fla.), and Ralph Hall (R-Texas).