Florida U.S. Reps. Bill Posey, Charlie Crist, and Alcee Hastings are joining a newly-formed, bipartisan Congressional NASA Caucus to promote the space agency’s agenda, research and budgetary needs.

The caucus, announced Wednesday, is distinctly different from the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, and its Subcommittee on Space, as Crist, a Democrat from St. Petersburg, and Posey, a Rockledge Republican, are members of both of those committees, while Hastings, a Miami Gardens Democrat, is not. Likewise, Republican U.S. Reps. Neal Dunn of Panama City and Dan Webster of Lake County are members of the full committee, and Webster of the subcommittee, but are not charter members of the caucus.

The caucus is being co-chaired U.S. Reps. Steve Knight, a California Republican, and Marcy Kaptur, an Ohio Democrat, indicative of NASA’s broad national reach with its facilities. The 23-member caucus also has members from Indiana, Mississippi, Michigan, Virginia, Alabama, Texas, Maryland and Colorado.

“The NASA caucus will be instrumental in educating members of Congress about the importance of maintaining our leadership in space and shaping legislation affecting our nation’s space program,” Posey said in a statement. “The NASA caucus can also be helpful in rallying support for Vice President [Mike] Pence’s recent important announcement that the administration is planning to return humans to the Moon and explore beyond.”

The Democrats from Florida were more interested in promoting the science than the vice president.

“Our nation’s leadership in space exploration is key to innovation, technology development, scientific discovery, and educational research – advancing our society and economy,” Crist stated. “Florida has long been a hub for space exploration and research at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, which facilitates tremendous advances in both the public and private sectors.”

“NASA is a symbol of American innovation,” Hastings stated. “At a time when the United States faces increasing challenges to its leadership in science and technology, reinvesting in these programs at home is critically important. I am pleased to be one of the founding members of the NASA Caucus, which will promote American leadership in science, and inspire the next generation of young Americans to dream big and break down barriers.”

About The Author

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

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