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Published On: Fri, Apr 20th, 2018

Oklahoma Rep Jim Bridenstine confirmed as new NASA chief

The Senate on Thursday confirmed Rep. Jim Bridenstine, R-Okla., as NASA administrator, despite objections from Democrats that he lacks the scientific and management expertise to lead the space agency.

Bridenstine’s confirmation comes at a critical time for the agency, which is preparing to return to the moon, and to restore human spaceflight from United States soil, a capability that was lost when the space shuttle program was retired in 2011, during the Obama administration.

Jim Bridenstine

The vote was 50-49 with Marco Rubio voicing concerns, but siding with the GOP to confirm Bridenstine.

“I was not enthused about the nomination. Nothing personal about Mr. Bridenstine. NASA is an organization that needs to be led by a space professional,” Rubio said before the confirmation vote Thursday afternoon. But “my view of it is, and it has been the tradition of the Senate for the entire distance of the republic, that we give great deference to the president on choosing qualifications.”

Former NASA head Charles Bolden resigned as Trump took office.

During that time, Robert Lightfoot, a NASA veteran, has been running the agency, but he recently announced he was retiring from the agency at the end of this month.

Bridenstine is a former naval aviator who ran the Tulsa Air and Space Museum before coming to Congress in 2013. An avid supporter of space exploration, he sponsored the American Space Renaissance Act, a wide-ranging bill that touched on national security, how best to deal with debris in space, and how to regulate the commercial space industry.

Vice President Mike Pence praised Bridenstine as a “a great champion of the men and women at NASA and a great champion of the president’s vision for NASA, and for American leadership in space.”

Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., who led the Democrats’ opposition to the congressman, argued that the NASA administrator should be a professional, rather than a politician.

“James Bridenstine is a climate denier with no scientific background who has made a career out of ignoring science,” Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, said Thursday. “Now, I also don’t have a scientific background. But I defer to scientists. I rely on the scientific consensus. And the scientific consensus is not what Mr. Bridenstine says.”

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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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