Dem senator calls on Congress to oppose Trump's pick for NASA chief

Dem senator calls on Congress to oppose Trump's pick for NASA chief

Sen. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayDemocrats urge Rick Perry not to roll back lightbulb efficiency rules Biz groups say Warren labor plan would be disaster Freedom of the press under fire in Colorado MORE (D-Wash.) is urging Congress to reject President Trump’s pick for head of NASA, citing what she believes to be the nominee’s climate change denial and anti-LGBTQ views.

In a letter to the chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, Murray called for the committee to vote against Rep. Jim BridenstineJames (Jim) Frederick BridenstineHillicon Valley: Google, Reddit to testify on tech industry protections | Trump joins Amazon-owned Twitch | House to vote on bill to combat foreign interference NASA targeting early 2020 for first manned SpaceX mission NASA's Bridenstine gives SpaceX a reality check MORE’s (R-Okla.) nomination, saying that he would move the country “backwards not forwards.”

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“Rep. Bridenstine’s background makes him an extremely concerning choice to lead this critical agency and its 19,000 diverse employees,” Murray wrote. “Rep. Bridenstine’s denial of climate science and consistent opposition to equal rights for women, immigrants, and gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer individuals should disqualify him from consideration.”

Trump nominated Bridenstine last month to lead NASA. Advocates say he has a strong record on space policy, but the nomination received criticism on both sides of he aisle, with Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioFurious Republicans prepare to rebuke Trump on Syria Five ways Trump's Syria decision spells trouble Rubio criticizes Warren response on same-sex marriage opposition as condescending MORE (R-Fla.) indicating he is too partisan for the position.

Murray is the first senator to formally call for opposition to his nomination, according to the Washington Blade.

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Murray cited several instances where Bridenstine has rejected the concept of global warming, calling his “failure to accept fundamental scientific truths” a “dangerous choice” to have jurisdiction over NASA’s requested $1.8 billion budget for climate science missions.

She also slammed Bridenstine for what she said was his implication that LGBTQ individuals are sexually immoral in a May 2013 speech about the Boy Scouts changing their rules on homosexual Scout leaders. She also criticized him for expressing disappointment in the Supreme Court's ruling legalizing same-sex marriage and support of Trump’s travel ban.

“NASA has played a singular role in American life,” Murray wrote. “The agency has inspired countless young people to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math. ... Rep. Bridenstine’s denial of fundamental scientific facts and long record of bigoted and hateful statements run counter to this legacy.”