News

Voice of America 4/23/97

CONGRESS / SPACE STATION

BYLINE=PAULA WOLFSON
DATELINE=CONGRESS
CONTENT=
VOICED AT: 

INTRO:   THEY CALL IT A "TEMPLE TO TECHNOLOGY"
...AND A "GIANT ERECTOR  SET" (CHILD'S BUILDING TOY). 
OPPONENTS OF THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION 
SAY THEY WILL ONCE AGAIN TRY TO CONVINCE THE 
U-S CONGRESS TO TERMINATE THE PROJECT.   AND AS 
V-O-A'S PAULA WOLFSON REPORTS, THE OPPONENTS 
HAVE A BACK-UP PLAN IF THEIR EFFORTS FAIL.

TEXT:   IT'S BECOME AN ANNUAL BATTLE ON CAPITOL 
HILL -- THE BATTLE OVER THE INTERNATIONAL 
SPACE STATION.

IN 1993, OPPONENTS ALMOST MANAGED TO KILL 
THE PROGRAM.  215 MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE OF 
REPRESENTATIVES VOTED TO CONTINUE THE 
PROJECT...214 VOTED FOR TERMINATION.

THE MARGIN OF VICTORY FOR SUPPORTERS OF 
THE SPACE STATION HAS BROADENED SINCE 
THEN.  BUT THIS YEAR, THERE IS A NEW ELEMENT
TO THE DEBATE:  CONCERNS THAT RUSSIA WILL
NOT BE ABLE TO MEET ITS OBLIGATIONS TO
THE JOINT PROJECT.

THE U-S SPACE AGENCY RECENTLY ACKNOWLEDGED
THE RUSSIANS ARE WAY  BEHIND SCHEDULE ON 
CONSTRUCTION OF A KEY COMPONENT -- THE 
SERVICE MODULE WHERE CREWS WILL LIVE AND 
WORK IN ORBIT.  TO INDIANA DEMOCRAT TIM 
ROEMER THAT IS JUST ONE MORE FLAW IN A PROJECT 
THAT HAS BEEN A WASTE OF MONEY FROM THE 
VERY START.

                        ///ROEMER ACT///

I THINK THIS IS BAD SCIENCE.  IT IS BAD FISCAL POLICY.  
AND IT IS FOREIGN POLICY RUNNING OUR DOMESTIC 
CONSIDERATIONS.

                         ////END ACT////

MR. ROEMER AND ABOUT THIRTY OF HIS 
CONGRESSIONAL COLLEAGUES -- DEMOCRATS 
AND REPUBLICANS -- WILL TRY TO FORCE A 
VOTE AS SOON AS THURSDAY ON THE SPACE 
STATION.   THEY SAY IF THEY FAIL TO KILL 
THE PROGRAM, THEY WILL ASK CONGRESS 
TO AT LEAST DROP THE RUSSIANS FROM THE 
PROJECT.

                        ////ROEMER ACT///

(OPT) I THINK THE RUSSIAN PARTICIPATION 
CAN BE SUMMED UP AS "THROW ME THE MONEY!"  
WE ARE THROWING MORE AND MORE 
PRECIOUS U-S TAX DOLLARS AT THE RUSSIANS. 
IT IS NOT HELPING THEM IN TERMS OF THEIR 
TIMELINESS OR IN TERMS OF THEIR PARTICIPATION. 
(END OPT)  THEY ACTUALLY HAVE CAUSED THE 
ENTIRE SPACE STATION TO FALL ELEVEN MONTHS 
BEHIND SCHEDULE WHICH WILL THEN FURTHER 
COMPLICATE THE BUILDING OF THIS 
INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION AND INCREASE
THE COSTS.

                         ////END ACT////

IT IS A COST SOME IN CONGRESS SAY THE U-S CAN
NO LONGER AFFORD.  REPUBLICAN GREG GANSKE
OF IOWA SAYS THE MONEY SHOULD BE USED FOR 
UNMANNED SPACE EXPLORATION, AND BASIC 
RESEARCH ON THE GROUND.

                        ///GANSKE ACT///

WE CAME TO WASHINGTON TO MAKE TOUGH 
CHOICES.  I HOPE MY COLLEAGUES WILL AGREE
AND MAKE THE TOUGH CHOICES NECESSARY 
ON THE SCIENCE (THE SCIENTIFIC MERITS OF THE 
PROJECT)  AND THE BEST WAY TO SPEND TAXPAYER 
DOLLARS ON SPACE EXPLORATION.

                         ////END ACT///

THE BIGGEST PROBLEM FACING OPPONENTS OF 
THE SPACE STATION IS THE FACT  THAT VIRTUALLY 
EVERY CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT IS TOUCHED BY 
THE  PROJECT.    CONTRACTS FOR PARTS, RESEARCH, 
AND RELATED TECHNOLOGY  DEVELOPMENT HAVE 
BEEN SIGNED WITH COMPANIES AND UNIVERSITIES 
ACROSS THE COUNTRY.  ALMOST EVERY MEMBER 
OF THE LEGISLATURE KNOWS THAT THERE  ARE 
JOBS OR GRANTS ON THE LINE...AND FEW ARE 
WILLING TO VOTE AGAINST THE FINANCIAL 
INTERESTS OF THEIR OWN COMMUNITY.  (SIGNED)

NEB/PW/KL

23-Apr-97 2:54 PM EDT (1854 UTC)
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