Instead Of Working On Fiscal Cliff, House GOP Wastes Time On Renaming NASA Facilities

The House had until midnight yesterday to pass the bill addressing the fiscal cliff. Instead, they went home early after a long day… passing measures such as H.R. 6612, renaming Dryden Flight Research Center to the Neil A. Armstrong Flight Research Center.

Now, honoring a national hero such as Neil Armstrong is something worthwhile, I am certain the American people will be fine if they delayed such a move until after addressing the fiscal cliff which they refuse to take any responsibility for. What is disturbing, however, is that they would pick the Dryden center, named after Hugh Dryden, the NASA deputy administrator who helped lay the groundwork for getting Neil Armstrong on to the moon in the first place.

If Congress truly wanted to honor Mr. Armstrong’s legacy, they would not take away an honor to grant an honor. There are several NASA facilities which do not actually have honorific names, only titles and some even letter designations. Launch Complex 39, which sent Neil Armstrong to the moon, for instance, holds one of these dull titles. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory is yet another. The JPL, renamed to the Neil Armstrong Jet Propulsion Laboratory, would be more of an honorific than Dryden, as Armstrong spent most of his NASA career with the JPL.

But all of this should have been postponed until the house addressed the pending, and critical issue of the fiscal cliff. That the House would spend its precious, few hours before last nights deadline voting on this, instead of on addressing the needs of the nation, comes across as the final example of the do-nothing congress.

So, which legislator felt that renaming Dryden was of such importance that it should take precedence over the financial state of the United States? Why, it was none other than Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, Eric Cantor’s right hand man. The third most powerful man in the House of Representatives. In other words, someone who should have been in the negotiating room working on the fiscal cliff, not on the floor renaming research centers.

The Republican leaders in the house clearly have no concept of priority. They are not taking their jobs seriously. One must wonder if they care about this country at all at this point.

Nathaniel Downes is the son of a former state representative of New Hampshire, now living in Seattle Washington.
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