Congress Should Say Nyet to Russian Space Bailout!
The bailout would further punish American taxpayers for the failures of NASA and Congress. At an October 7 House Science Committee hearing, experts on Russia advised Congress to say no to a new Russian bailout. They pointed not only to a lack of money in Russia's space program, but also to serious faults in that nation's entire economic structure.
In 1993, claiming with fanfare that teaming with Russia would save the Space Station program $4 billion and two years, the Clinton Administration brought the Russians in as partners and started shipping American taxpayer dollars to Moscow. A senior U.S. State Department official told the House Space Subcommittee in 1994 that there were no safeguards to guarantee that corrupt bureaucrats would not siphon off U.S. money.
He testified, "We are not able to assure you that these funds are going in one specific place or another." But NASA and Congress kept sending money to Russia, even when they had to send delegations to Moscow to beg Russian officials to please actually get the U.S. money to Russia's space agency as intended.
On the ground, Russia and its space program were falling apart. For example, in late 1993, an Office of Technology Assessment document expressed serious concern after a visit to the Baikonur Cosmodrome, saying, "Reportedly, bands of thieves were even using camels to pull copper cable from the ground" to melt down and sell.
In recent years, U.S. and Russian officials have continued a soap opera in which Russia threatens to pull the plug, seeks more American money, and fails to deliver Space Station components as promised. Meanwhile, U.S. officials make excuses and play along for fear that revealing the truth would bring down the program. Furthermore, the NASA Administrator told Congress that $660 million would not be the end of Russia's woes, and American taxpayers would be asked for still more.
Americans believe in a vibrant national space program. But the Administration and Congress are squandering that support with their official lies and endless appetites for more taxpayer money for the Space Station boondoggle.
This news report comes from our friends at Taxpayers for Common Sense. For more information about this issue please contact Brian Hughes (202) 546-8500 x 104 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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