Spratt Statement on Space Travel to Moon and Mars

News from U.S. Rep. John Spratt (D-SC)
Assistant to the Democratic Leader
Ranking Member, Committee on the Budget
US House of Representatives – Washington, DC
www.house.gov/spratt  |  www.house.gov/budget_democrats
 
Spratt Statement on Space Travel to Moon and Mars
 
WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. John Spratt (D-SC) today issued the following statement on the President’s proposal to establish a permanent base on the moon from which to launch human travel to Mars.
 
“The President has unveiled a plan to send humans to the moon to build an infrastructure that can launch us on to Mars.  This will be hugely expensive. It has been 15 years since NASA estimated the cost at $400 billion when the first President Bush proposed the same idea. It is hard to see how we can pay for such an endeavor with a budget deficit already approaching $500 billion.
 
“Space exploration continues to provide valuable scientific research, but sending humans to the moon — never mind Mars — could not be accomplished without massively increasing NASA’s $15.5 billion annual budget.  The President’s claim that this endeavor will require a mere $1 billion more than NASA’s expected funding over the next five years is just another example of hiding the real cost by deferring the payment into the future. 
 
“Even if some of the cost is paid for by reprogramming existing NASA funding, this plan would still require substantial new expenditures beyond the $1 billion the President proposes.  This initiative comes at a time when the Administration has announced its intentions to hold domestic appropriations to a three percent increase in its upcoming fiscal year 2005 budget.  If the President gives NASA a larger increase, it must come out of other priorities, such as education, medical research, law enforcement, and infrastructure investments in spaceship earth, to list just a few.
 
“A proposal to colonize the moon and send humans to Mars is exciting, but it has an element of escapism about it, and only confirms that this Administration is not facing fiscal reality, and has no intention of reversing the record-breaking deficits it has created.”