WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Elaine Luria issued the following statement on the Vice President’s tour of NASA Langley. This visit comes after the President announced his budget proposal, which would increase funding for NASA overall, but cut funding for critical programs impacting her district’s constituents, like the CLARREO Pathfinder.
“I am glad the Vice President’s visit provided an opportunity for him to witness the innovation that occurs at NASA Langley,” Congresswoman Elaine Luria said. “I was pleased to see that the Administration appropriately funded many of Langley’s programs, including work designing critical systems for the Artemis program that will propel the next generation of human space exploration. However, I was disappointed by cuts to STEM Engagement, which helps inspire Coastal Virginia students to become scientists and engineers, and to the CLARREO Pathfinder (CPF) mission. This mission will bolster our national security by giving us the data necessary to plan for climate change’s effects on infrastructure. It is my hope that the Vice President’s tour showed him the immense value of CPF and will cause the Administration to reconsider its opposition to funding this program.”
The President’s FY21 budget requests $25.2 billion in appropriations for NASA, a 12% increase over the previous fiscal year. Of this amount, NASA’s Langley Research Center would receive $865.5 million. While deep space exploration systems and technologies would see significant increases under the budget, NASA’s funding for science and STEM engagement would decline. Specifically, the science account would see a 12% decrease in funding. This account supports research into Earth’s geology and climate, including NASA Langley’s CPF. CPF will provide the data needed to better understand climate change and protect against severe weather events before they occur. It is currently on track to be deployed on the International Space Station in 2023.
Congresswoman Luria has been a staunch advocate of the CPF mission. Last December, she secured $26 million in funding for the program in the enacted FY20 appropriations package.