In his 2006 State Of The Union Address, President Bush announced the American Competitiveness Initiative (ACI) to encourage American innovation and strengthen the nation's ability to compete in the global economy. His failure to include NASA in the initiative has meant a diminished Bush administration priority. Agencies included in the initiative, like the National Science Foundation (NSF), received an increase of 7 percent in the President's 2008 budget compared to his 2007 budget, while NASA only saw a 3 percent increase compared to his 2007 budget.

The space program needs presidential leadership, and we expect to see that leadership in the budget. Unfortunately, we don't see it in this year's budget yet again. I fought to have NASA included in the American Competitiveness Initiative, but the White House refused. NASA's work should be the hallmark of any national program to promote America's competitiveness. I will keep fighting for a balanced space program - science, exploration and aeronautics - all leading the way for innovation and discovery.

I am committed to restoring this agency's budget to ensure the continued safety of our astronauts, and to supporting the critical programs that are the hallmarks of their success. NASA was never fully reimbursed after the tragedy of Columbia, and was forced to make dramatic cuts to other programs.