Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, a Tea Party darling and rumored 2016 presidential candidate, will now oversee NASA as chair of the Subcommittee on Space, Science and Competitiveness. Huffington Post reports that many are baffled over Cruz’s new appointment due to his previous opposition to NASA and seeming ignorance of science.
In 2013, Cruz filibustered to create a 16-day government shutdown, which temporarily forced 97 percent of NASA employees out of work. During that time, NASA’s interns were also displaced because the shutdown forced the agency to close the housing provided to interns.
Cruz is also notoriously skeptical of global warming, although NASA has conducted significant research on climate change. "Other parts are going up. It is not — you know, you always have to be worried about something that is considered a so-called 'scientific theory' that fits every scenario,” he said on CNN. “Climate change, as they have defined it, can never be disproved, because whether it gets hotter or whether it gets colder, whatever happens, they'll say, 'Well, it's changing, so it proves our theory.'”
Still, NASA’s future may be insured this year; the agency received a $530 million bonus in funding for 2015. The money will be used to support NASA’s Space Launch System rocket as well as its planetary science program.