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 MurrayUnder pressure, Democrats cut back spending Overnight Health Care — Presented by Carequest — Colin Powell's death highlights risks for immunocompromised Senate Democrats ditch Hyde amendment for first time in decades 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 BridenstineSpaceX all-civilian crew returns to Earth, successfully completing 3-day mission SpaceX all-civilian crew calls Tom Cruise from space How will Biden's Afghanistan debacle impact NASA's Artemis return to the moon? 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 RubioSenate GOP campaign arm outraises Democratic counterpart in September House passes bills to secure telecommunications infrastructure Senators call for answers from US firm over reported use of forced Uyghur labor in China 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.”