WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Steny H. Hoyer (MD-5) sent a letter today to Members of the House Appropriations Committee urging them to reconsider their decision to cut funding for the James Webb Space Telescope at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center as they proceed to Full Committee markup next week. Hoyer, whose District includes Goddard, has taken the lead on discussions with Congressman Frank Wolf (R-VA), the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies, and Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-PA), the Ranking Member, on how they can work together to preserve this critical investment in America’s space program.
The letter as sent is below.
Dear Chairman Rogers:
The Subcommittee-reported FY2012 Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations bill eliminates funding for the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). The JWST is of critical importance to the mission of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Goddard Space Flight Center in my district and is an investment of national and global significance in the future of space astronomy and astrophysics. The full Committee will consider this bill next week, and I urge the Committee to continue to provide funds for this critical project. Among its merits:
- Scientific Discovery. The JWST is designed to be the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope which is presently used by more than 8,000 scientists. Its observational capabilities will allow those scientists to continue their work and support the next generation of discovery.
- Job Creation. In addition to supporting researchers, JWST is supporting 2000 full time private sector jobs in 22 states. 500 of these jobs are in Maryland, and 250 at Goddard.
- U.S. Prominence and Leadership. JWST technologies are unique to the United States, and will ensure American dominance in space observation.
The Committee has already provided $3 billion for JWST. The telescope is in fabrication with the mirror finished and other components nearly complete. It would be devastating to lose the project at this juncture. It is my hope the Committee can rectify the situation for the benefit of the country.
Steny H. Hoyer
Member of Congress