Rockefeller: NASA budget not just about jobs

The president's plan would shift considerable NASA money to research while canceling the Constellation program, under which astronauts would have returned to the Moon and Mars. While the administration has described those proposed changes as essential, noting NASA lacks the technology to complete those missions in the near future, critics have said it would result in lost jobs along Florida's Space Coast, the home of the Kennedy Space Center.

Anticipating this, White House officials on Wednesday noted they planned to submit an updated budget to lawmakers in the coming weeks that would reflect a series of changes that includes a fund to re-train NASA workers.

Dr. John P. Holdren, director of the White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy, later stressed that new money for research and development would also "create new jobs in many places affected by shuttle job losses."