Senate approves bill funding James Webb Space Telescope

Nov 02, 2011 by Jason Major, Universe Today

Yesterday afternoon the U.S. Senate approved H.R. 2112, a FY 2012 bill from Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski that would fund the James Webb Space Telescope to launch in 2018. This is another step forward for the next-generation space telescope, which many have called the successor to Hubble... all that now remains is for the House to reconcile.

“We are creating the building blocks that we need for a smarter America. Our nation is in an amazing race – the race for discovery and new knowledge, the race to remain competitive,” Chairwoman Mikulski said. ”This bill includes full funding of the James Webb Telescope to achieve a 2018 launch. The Webb Telescope supports 1,200 jobs and will lead to the kind of innovation and discovery that have made America great. It will inspire America’s next generation of scientists and innovators that will have the new ideas that lead to new products and new jobs.”

The bill was approved by a vote of 69 to 30.

Thanks to everyone who contacted their representatives in support of the JWST and to all the websites out there that helped make it simple to do so… and of course to all the state representatives who listened and stood behind the JWST!

In addition to continued funding for the telescope the 2012 also allots the National Aeronautics and Space Administration $17.9 billion (still a reduction of $509 million or 2.8 percent from the 2011 enacted level) and preserves NASA’s portfolio balanced among science, aeronautics, technology and human space flight investments, including the Orion Multipurpose Crew Vehicle, the heavy lift Space Launch System, and commercial crew development.

It also supports funding for the NOAA.

“We are creating the building blocks that we need for a smarter America. Our nation is in an amazing race – the race for discovery and new knowledge, the race to remain competitive," said U.S. Senator, Barbara A. Mikulski

Of course, we must remember that spending and allocation of funds is not necessarily creating funds. As with everything, money has to come from somewhere and it remains to be seen how this will affect other programs within NASA. Not everyone is in agreement that this is the best course of action for the Administration at this point, not with the overall reduction of budget being what it is.

Explore further: India launches biggest ever rocket into space

More information: Read the bill summary here.

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User comments : 36

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Dokudango
5 / 5 (6) Nov 02, 2011
Looks like 30 senators need a new job.
210
3.9 / 5 (7) Nov 02, 2011
I Knew it! It ain't over till its OVER!
Now put this thing in orbit and let's find ET.

word-to-ya-muthas
Ensa
5 / 5 (4) Nov 02, 2011
Good!
Nerdyguy
4.6 / 5 (9) Nov 02, 2011
Good to see Congress making some intelligent decisions to invest in the future of our country!
FrankHerbert
0.9 / 5 (52) Nov 02, 2011
In addition to continued funding for the telescope the 2012 bill also allots the National Aeronautics and Space Administration $17.9 billion (still a reduction of $509 million or 2.8 percent from the 2011 enacted level) and preserves NASAs portfolio balanced among science, aeronautics, technology and human space flight investments, including the Orion Multipurpose Crew Vehicle, the heavy lift Space Launch System, and commercial crew development.


Sounds like NASA is in pretty good shape despite all the recent negative press. The SLS looks like it will be a real beast.
fuviss_co_uk
2.3 / 5 (3) Nov 02, 2011
in 2015 they will say, that they need another 5bln$...
JWSP should be ready in 2013 or 2014, not 2018...In 2018 we will be old as hell :)
Vendicar_Decarian
0.6 / 5 (39) Nov 02, 2011
Amendments to this bill.

Carter (R-TX) The amendment prohibits the ATF from denying the importation of certain shotguns, which can already be sold legally in the U.S. if they are made domestically. The amendment passed on a vote of 28-19.

Rehberg (R-MT) The amendment prohibits the ATF from requiring licensed firearm dealers to report to the ATF on the multiple sales of rifles. The amendment passed on a vote of 25-16.

Flake (R-AZ) The amendment adds report language reiterating an underlying bill provision that fees collected by the Patent Trade Office (PTO) are to be used only by PTO. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.
Arkaleus
3.7 / 5 (6) Nov 02, 2011
Probably the most important thing Senator Barbara Mikulski will ever accomplish during her tenure.
Nerdyguy
2.8 / 5 (5) Nov 02, 2011
Amendments to this bill.

Carter (R-TX) The amendment prohibits the ATF from denying the importation of certain shotguns, which can already be sold legally in the U.S. if they are made domestically. The amendment passed on a vote of 28-19.

Rehberg (R-MT) The amendment prohibits the ATF from requiring licensed firearm dealers to report to the ATF on the multiple sales of rifles. The amendment passed on a vote of 25-16.

Flake (R-AZ) The amendment adds report language reiterating an underlying bill provision that fees collected by the Patent Trade Office (PTO) are to be used only by PTO. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.


Brilliant. I had some witty comments to make, but this kind of stupidity really is so depressing I've lost my interest. George Washington must be turning over in his grave.
Vendicar_Decarian
0.4 / 5 (37) Nov 02, 2011
It was passed on a voice vote.

Are records kept of voice votes?

Can anyone find the list of whom voted no and their party affiliation?

How many no voters were Republican? 99%? 100%?
Nerdyguy
3.7 / 5 (3) Nov 02, 2011
Actually, it was a roll-call vote. Breakdown here:

http://politics.n...te/1/194
Vendicar_Decarian
1.1 / 5 (45) Nov 02, 2011
No voters
Kelly Ayotte (Republicn)
John Barrasso (Republican)
John Boozman (Republican)
Richard M Burr (Republican)
Saxby Chambliss (Republican)
Daniel Coats (Republican)
Tom Coburn (Republican)
Bob Corter (Republican)
John Cormyn (Republican)
Michael D. Crapo (Republican)
Jim DeMint (Republican)
Michael B Enzi (Republican)
Charles E. Crassley (Republican)
Orin G Hatch (Republican)
Dean Heller (Republican)
James M. Inhofe (Republican)
Johnny Isakson (Republican)
Ron Johnson (Republican)
Jon Kyl (Republican)
Mile Lee (Republican)
Richard G Lugar (Republican)
Rand Paul (Republican)
Rob Portman (Republican)
Jim Risch (Republican)
Mario Rubio (Republican)
Jeff Sessions (Republican)
John Thune (Republican)
Pactric J Toomey (Republican)
David Vitter (Republican)

Know the enemy.
PinkElephant
5 / 5 (4) Nov 02, 2011
Considering the bill is actually called "H.R.2112: Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2012", it's not surprising that it might have stuff about ATF, and the kitchen sink. There's a reason they call those type of bills "omnibus".

And people voting against the bill aren't necessarily voting against the JWST. Indeed, the JWST (and even all of NASA) is a drop in the bucket compared to everything else in that bill.

I do agree that this practice of gigantic omnibus bills is ridiculous and dysfunctional (how many Senators actually read all of it before voting?) Yet, if each paragraph of the bill were to be voted on as a separate bill, virtually none of it would pass. By slapping it all together, "compromise votes" can be achieved where a majority gets something to vote for (while holding the nose about the rest.)

Still, I wonder if a more honest and efficient way of dealing with these things couldn't be found.
Vendicar_Decarian
0.2 / 5 (37) Nov 02, 2011
Trivial.

Assign all government functions to 1 of 20 or 30 "branches". Assign proportional representation from each state to each branch and set an initial budget equal to the budget of that department if it had existed the previous year.

Then require that the public vote to increase, maintain or decrease the budget of each department. Those votes are tallied and the majority decides the direction. Department budget changes would be limited to plus or minus 10 percent per voting cycle (4 years) or 5 percent (2 years).

PinkElephant
5 / 5 (1) Nov 02, 2011
Heheh, I meant another way within the constraints of the current system. What you propose -- while not unreasonable on its face -- is nothing short of rewriting the Constitution. IOW, it'll never happen in practice.
Jotaf
5 / 5 (3) Nov 03, 2011
Great news :) It just worries me a bit that everything must be justified with "jobs". Does science not stand on its own?
Vendicar_Decarian
0.3 / 5 (39) Nov 03, 2011
Tax cuts don't need to be justified with jobs. Neither do Republican plans to adopt a tax system that makes all capital gains free from taxation.

Look at Ron Paul's pledge to cut government spending by 1 trillion dollars in his first year.

That would increase the U.S. unemployment rate to around 35 percent to 40 percent.
Vendicar_Decarian
0.2 / 5 (37) Nov 03, 2011
"... it'll never happen in practice." - Pink Elephant

One more reason why America has no future.

infiniteMadness
not rated yet Nov 03, 2011
I simply cant wait to see the James Webb data results in the future...itll be a new Hubble era once again.
Skepticus
1.8 / 5 (5) Nov 03, 2011
Good to see Congress making some intelligent decisions to invest in the future of our country!

Sigh....! This is a Senate vote, not Congress!Conggress is who has stopped the funding for the JST in the first place. Congress is, to say politely, anally fornicated by AIPAC and the like. It will trash any bill that doesn't have "Israel's security" printed on it. As I have posted earlier elsewhere, that whole bunch of GOP-backed traitors will do any and all things short of murder as well as sink America if it is required to remove Obama from office, simply because he offended their boss. Read the press releases if you have any doubts about their single-minded approach.
eachus
5 / 5 (2) Nov 03, 2011
A lot of wild threats here by people who just don't understand bureaucracies and the methods that Congress has developed to deal with them. As long as the JWST was funded year-to-year, the bureaucrats at NASA could (and did) spend money budgeted for the JWST on other projects, and left completion (and launch) of the JWST drifting. After all none of those bureaucrats plan on being in the same position in 2018 or whenever.

By threatening to cancel the JWST without a multi-year budget that sees the telescope through launch, Congress tried to get a decent estimate of the real cost to completion of the telescope, and one that did not include unrelated spending. (Most of the tricky parts are finished, the big pieces left are assembly and launch.)

The final vote on the omnibus bill had more to do with the agriculture, ATF, and FDA portions of the bill. The JWST and in fact all of NASA was a small (and relatively uncontroversial) part of the bill.
LKD
2 / 5 (4) Nov 03, 2011
Sigh....! This is a Senate vote, not Congress!Conggress is who has stopped the funding for the JST in the first place. Congress is, to say politely, anally fornicated by AIPAC and the like. It will trash any bill that doesn't have "Israel's security" printed on it. As I have posted earlier elsewhere, that whole bunch of GOP-backed traitors will do any and all things short of murder as well as sink America if it is required to remove Obama from office, simply because he offended their boss. Read the press releases if you have any doubts about their single-minded approach.


The Webb telescope has been over budget year after year after year... It needed to be brought to a halt and reorganized. The reason that JWST was on notice for termination was mismanagement and cost abuse by the contractors.

To go into political derision, as if that has any truth or bearing, is disappointing.
Nerdyguy
1 / 5 (1) Nov 03, 2011
"Sigh....! This is a Senate vote, not Congress!"

Substitute "House of Representatives" for the word "Congress" and this sentence will be correct.
Nerdyguy
1 / 5 (1) Nov 03, 2011
@Vendicar:

To be fair, in the post of the "no" votes, it should be pointed out that some Republicans did vote "yes" on the bill. It was not strictly a vote along party lines.
Nerdyguy
1 / 5 (1) Nov 03, 2011
@Skepticus: you do understand that Congress includes the Senate, yes?
Skepticus
1 / 5 (1) Nov 03, 2011
@Skepticus: you do understand that Congress includes the Senate, yes?

Thanks Nerdyguy, I stand corrected.
Skepticus
1 / 5 (1) Nov 03, 2011
The Webb telescope has been over budget year after year after year... It needed to be brought to a halt and reorganized. The reason that JWST was on notice for termination was mismanagement and cost abuse by the contractors.

To go into political derision, as if that has any truth or bearing, is disappointing.

From your logic, "mismanagement and cost abuses...should be brought to a halt and reorganized." Basically that means every governmental department and agencyin existence, unless you can quote independent performance reviews sources that are free from ALL pressures? Recycling politicians every election is not good enough, but...that's all you have. When you have a bunch of (millionaire) bussines-man-turned-politicians trying to bend science to their mercantile mindset, science goes down the toilet. When the Apollo program was started, the focus is to beat the hell out of the Russians, costs be damned. Take your pick, science done properly, or the dollars.
210
1 / 5 (1) Nov 03, 2011
Trivial.

Assign all government functions to 1 of 20 or 30 "branches". Assign proportional representation from each state to each branch and set an initial budget equal to the budget of that department if it had existed the previous year.
Then require that the public vote to increase, maintain or decrease the budget of each department. Those votes are tallied and the majority decides the direction. Department budget changes would be limited to plus or minus 10 percent per voting cycle (4 years) or 5 percent (2 years).

Vendi...this is POTENTIALLY, the smartest thing you will ever write. Now to do this, In America, we will need to have a lottery to fund very, very fast broadband to each and EVERY community in the US, which, installing all that fiber and wifi access points, would make about 12 million jobs - 300,000 by my calculations. Half the population would have to get at least a CCIE, also good for the job and gene pool.
No, I think you have something here!
word-
Skepticus
1 / 5 (1) Nov 04, 2011
@Vendicar
Good idea, although there would be a few slight issues: Governing By Consensus is heresy to any card-carying bureaucrat. The Public will be deemed not intelligent enough to comprehend the range and scope of challenges and the tasks the branches have to accomplish to be trusted with management power. Public votes can be influenced and steered by advertising campaigns. Electronic Voting has never been implemented (and probably not this century) due to security and other more obscure technical grounds that it is not used even for a town major (...even though they are quite happy to transfer billions of you money by electronic banking.)
Vendicar_Decarian
0.4 / 5 (37) Nov 04, 2011
"To be fair, in the post of the "no" votes, it should be pointed out that some Republicans did vote "yes" on the bill. It was not strictly a vote along party lines." - Nerdguy

Who is the enemy?
Which party?
jonnyboy
2 / 5 (4) Nov 05, 2011
"To be fair, in the post of the "no" votes, it should be pointed out that some Republicans did vote "yes" on the bill. It was not strictly a vote along party lines." - Nerdguy

Who is the enemy? YOU ARE
Vendicar_Decarian
0.2 / 5 (36) Nov 05, 2011
Yes, I am a supporter of James West and hence I am the enemy of every American Conservative who breaths.

Horus
3 / 5 (2) Nov 06, 2011
in 2015 they will say, that they need another 5bln$...
JWSP should be ready in 2013 or 2014, not 2018...In 2018 we will be old as hell :)


Do I really give a rats behind what someone from a UK Domain thinks about NASA's budget? Not really.
M_N
1 / 5 (2) Nov 06, 2011
Yes, I am a supporter of James West and hence I am the enemy of every American Conservative who breaths.


WTF are you talking about? Perhaps James WEBB? If so, it's already been pointed out to you that the program had plenty of supporters from among the Republicans...
flashgordon
not rated yet Nov 06, 2011
James Webb will allow some great shots at the hubble deep field; Spetre R will discover aliens . . . and image pulsars and well accretion disks around black holes; but, then again, with black holes, there's nothing to see!
Yenaldlooshi
1 / 5 (2) Nov 06, 2011
At least we won't have to face another 1/2 Baked expensive national treasure such as the megabuck Superduperconducting Supercollider thingy!
DON'T PRESS YOUR LUCK! ...Time to make it happen!
Any further financial requirements will have to be met by your judicious employment of the 'Tin Cup' or '3 Card Monty' methods of raising capital. ...aka Card Table Panhandling.

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