Trump's pick for NASA head may face opposition in Congress

Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio said he shared Nelson's concerns, including that Bridenstine's "political baggage" would slow down confirmation hearings.
By Stacey Carter | Sep 06, 2017
People on both sides of the aisle are grumbling about President Trump's pick for NASA administrator, Jim Bridenstine, a Republican congressman from Oklahoma. They say a politician without scientific credentials should not be in charge of the nation's space program.

Florida senators, who represent a state that is home to the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, expressed bipartisan concern.

"The head of NASA out to be a space professional, not a politician," said Florida Democratic Senator Bill Nelson, as reported by Politico.

Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio said he shared Nelson's concerns, including that Bridenstine's "political baggage" would slow down confirmation hearings.

"I just think it could be devastating for the space program," Rubio told Politico. "Obviously, being from Florida, I'm very sensitive to anything that slows up NASA and its mission."

Rubio said he would wait to decide how to vote until he had met with Bridenstine and reviewed his credentials. Still, he noted that the NASA mission has been mostly free of politics and was now "at a critical juncture in its history."

"I would hate to see an administrator held up on [grounds of] partisanship, political arguments, past votes or statements made in the past because the agency can't afford it and it can't afford the controversy," Rubio said, in the Politico report.

Aside from serving as the executive director of the Tulsa Air and Space Museum and Planetarium from 2008-2010, Bridenstine has no space experience or scientific credentials, the Financial Times reports.

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