White House not making near-term plans to nominate a NASA administrator – SpaceNews

WASHINGTON — The White stated Feb. 23 has no schedule for nominating a NASA administrator as a brand new spherical of rumors swirl about who may be chosen to steer the .

The subject arose at a press convention when a reporter requested press secretary Jen Psaki about rumors that the Biden administration was contemplating Invoice Nelson, a former senator from Florida, for the put up. These rumors were first publicized Feb. 22 by Breaking Defense.

“I don’t have any personnel bulletins for you or any expectation of once we’ll have an announcement on a NASA administrator, or a listing of potential folks,” Psaki responded. “However that’s an attention-grabbing one,” she stated, apparently referring to Nelson.

Nelson can be an attention-grabbing selection. He served six phrases within the Home from 1978 by means of 1990. Throughout that point, he flew on the house shuttle Columbia on the STS-61C mission in January 1986 as a payload . Nelson returned to Congress when he was elected to the Senate in 2000, serving three phrases.

Within the Senate, Nelson performed key roles within the collection of two earlier directors due to his curiosity in house coverage and as one of many prime Democrats on the Senate Commerce Committee. In 2009, he lobbied closely for former astronaut Charles Bolden, who flew with him on STS-61C, to be NASA administrator, rejecting different candidates for the place that the Obama administration was contemplating. President Obama in the end nominated Bolden, who was by the Senate in July 2009 and served by means of the top of the Obama administration in January 2017.

Nelson, although, strongly objected to the Trump administration’s nomination of Jim Bridenstine, a Republican congressman from Oklahoma, to function NASA administrator in September 2017. “The chief of NASA shouldn’t be political,” he said at Bridenstine’s confirmation hearing. “The NASA administrator needs to be a consummate house skilled who’s technically and scientifically competent and is a talented government.”

Bridenstine ultimately gained affirmation in April 2018 on a slender party-line vote. Nelson, months later, praised Bridenstine for retaining NASA apolitical. After Nelson lost a bid for a fourth term in 2018, Bridenstine reciprocated by naming Nelson to the NASA Advisory Council in Might 2019.

Nelson served as a surrogate for the Biden marketing campaign within the 2020 election, together with one call with reporters in May 2020 where he and Bolden promoted Biden’s low-key role in space policy throughout his eight years as President Obama’s vice chairman. “Joe Biden was very a lot of this complete factor,” Nelson recalled of the efforts in 2010 to work out a deal that in the end allowed growth of each industrial crew and the Area Launch System.

The 78-year-old Nelson would seem to fall in need of his personal standards he set in 2017 for being a NASA administrator. He spent most of his profession in politics, and whereas skilled in house coverage points, wouldn’t be thought of a “consummate house skilled” with a technical or scientific background.

It’s unclear how significantly the Biden administration is contemplating Nelson to be NASA administrator. There might also be no rush to appoint a NASA administrator. Some nominees for cabinet-level positions have but be confirmed by the Senate, and the administration has but to appoint folks to fill many different lower-level positions, like administrator of NOAA.

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