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Trump’s NASA Nominee Moving Toward Senate Vote

Rep. Jim Bridenstine at a Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee hearing.

After more than a year, NASA could soon have a permanent leader.  The Senate is poised to move toward a floor vote this week.

The Trump administration nominated Republican Congressman Jim Bridenstine nearly eight months ago, but he has yet to receive a confirmation vote.

Democratic Senator Bill Nelson worries the appointment would make the space agency too political. He spoke on the Senate floor Wednesday saying he could not support “an administrator who is politically divisive and who is not prepared to be the last in line to make the fateful decision for go or no go for launch. Therefore, I will oppose this nominee.”

Republican Senator Marco Rubio expressed concerns last year when Bridenstein was first appointed. Usually the NASA administrator nominee gets bi-partisan support. With razor thin margin approval in a Senate committee and Rubio’s dissent from the majority vote, the confirmation was delayed.

NASA has been without a permanent administrator for more than a year. Acting administrator Robert Lightfoot announced he would retire at the end of the month.

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Brendan Byrne

About Brendan Byrne

Space Reporter and 'Are We There Yet?' Host

Brendan covers space news for WMFE, everything from rocket launches to the latest scientific discoveries in our universe. He hosts WMFE's weekly radio show and podcast "Are We There Yet?" which explores human space exploration. Brendan is a native Floridian, born and raised in Broward County. He moved to ... Read Full Bio »