A House-Senate compromise reached Tuesday on a spending bill for NASA, independent federal agencies and housing made Sen. Jake Garn, R-Utah, both happy and sad.
The good news was that the compromise, which still must be approved by the House and Senate, funded several long-sought Utah housing and economic development projects.The bad news for ex-astronaut Garn is that he said it devastated plans for NASA's space station project.
"There are several projects (funded) in Utah. . . . From that standpoint, it's a good bill," said Garn, who is the ranking Republican on the Senate appropriations subcommittee that oversees the bill and was a member of the panel that worked out the final House-Senate compromise.
Those projects include $500,000 to help West Valley City develop an industrial park as a buffer area around the Hercules missile plant, $500,000 to improve housing for the elderly in Salt Lake County, $500,000 for housing rehabilitation in Ogden and $250,000 to start a revolving loan account to help attract high-tech businesses to Utah County.
But Garn quickly added, "I'm very, very disappointed in the levels for science - the National Science Foundation as well as NASA. The amount of money provided will cause a redesign of the space station."
He added, "At $1.9 billion (approved for the space station), there is simply not enough money to continue production of parts of the currently designed space station."