U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), Texas’ senior Senator, today announced the Fiscal Year 2009 Omnibus Appropriations bill includes $1.5 million that she secured for the Advanced Robotics for Lunar and Martian Exploration project at Texas A&M University. The legislation provides full year funding for various government departments, agencies, and priority programs.
“Texas A&M University will be at the forefront of robotic research and Lunar and Martian investigation as NASA begins its new vision for space exploration,” said Sen. Hutchison.
The Advanced Robotics for Lunar and Martian Exploration project, led by Dr. John Junkins, a member of the National Academy of Sciences and of the governing board of the Texas Academy of Medicine, Engineering, and Science, will develop new robotic technologies that enable multiple robots to collaborate, under high-level human supervision in exploration and construction activities for NASA exploration plans. The initiative will also develop advanced sensing and computing architectures to enable robotic landings on rough terrain.
Though Sen. Hutchison is pleased that she was able to secure significant funding for many deserving projects in Texas, she voted against the final bill due to the fact that it grew by more than 8% compared to FY ’08 levels, including duplicative and unnecessary spending on 122 projects and agencies recently funded by the Stimulus bill.
At a time when American families are facing tough economic decisions, she believes Congress should show spending restraint.
Sen. Hutchison introduced an amendment that would have sent the Omnibus back to the Appropriations Committee to reduce the bill to the overall spending level approved by Congress in Fiscal Year 2008, with adjustments made for inflation. While the measure would not have dictated how the Omnibus funding was redistributed to meet the FY 2008 level, the amendment would have required offsets from accounts that have already been funded in the recently-passed Stimulus bill. Sen. Hutchison’s motion failed to pass by a vote of 40-55.
“My amendment would have told the American people that Congress is ready to show fiscal responsibility,” said Sen. Hutchison. “While I’m disappointed that the Senate was unwilling to make modest, common sense cuts and do away with billions of dollars of wasteful, duplicative spending, I worked hard on the Appropriations Committee to ensure as many meritorious Texas projects as possible were able to receive federal funding.”