Last Update 11/9/98

World Watch II

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Congress Should Say Nyet to Russian Space Bailout!

Taxpayers for Common Sense has urged members of Congress to oppose an
additional $660 million to bailout Russia's failing space program. This late
September request is NASA's latest move to save the foundering Space

The bailout would further punish American taxpayers for the failures of NASA
and Congress. At an October 7 House Science Committee hearing, experts on
Russia advised Congress to say no to a new Russian bailout. They pointed
not only to a lack of money in Russia's space program, but also to serious
faults in that nation's entire economic structure.

In 1993, claiming with fanfare that teaming with Russia would save the Space
Station program $4 billion and two years, the Clinton Administration brought
the Russians in as partners and started shipping American taxpayer dollars
to Moscow. A senior U.S. State Department official told the House Space
Subcommittee in 1994 that there were no safeguards to guarantee that corrupt
bureaucrats would not siphon off U.S. money.

He testified, "We are not able to assure you that these funds are going in
one specific place or another." But NASA and Congress kept sending money to
Russia, even when they had to send delegations to Moscow to beg Russian
officials to give the U.S. money to Russia's space agency as intended.

On the ground, Russia and its space program were falling apart. For
example, in late 1993, an Office of Technology Assessment document expressed
serious concern after a visit to the Baikonur Cosmodrome, saying,
"Reportedly, bands of thieves were even using camels to pull copper cable
from the ground" to melt down and sell.

In recent years, U.S. and Russian officials have continued a soap opera in
which Russia threatens to pull the plug, seeks more American money, and
fails to deliver Space Station components as promised. Meanwhile, U.S.
officials make excuses and play along for fear that revealing the truth
would bring down the program. Furthermore, NASA Administrator told Congress
that $660 million would not be the end of Russia's woes, and American
taxpayers would be asked for more.

Americans believe in a vibrant national space program. But the
Administration and Congress are squandering that support with their official
lies and endless appetites for more taxpayer money for the Space Station


For more information about this issue please contact Brian Hughes (202)
546-8500 x 104 or by email:

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