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Senator Ted Cruz appointed to oversee NASA in Congress

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The senator is on-record denying climate change and has regularly pushed for government cutbacks

Gage Skidmore

As expected, after a major GOP win in the last Congressional election, there's been a shuffling in the ranks of committees, including those that oversee science in government. Next up to chair the Senate subcommittee on Space, Science, and Competitiveness, and thus oversee NASA in the 114th Congress: Texas Senator Ted Cruz.

Cruz has denied climate change exists

Cruz, a Republican, has said it is "critical that the United States ensure its continued leadership in space," but his stances on established science will no doubt be concerning: he's gone on record, for example, denying that climate change exists. Cruz has also promoted himself as a Tea Party spending hawk, attempting to slash budgets across the government.

Whether the appointment, which will be confirmed later this month, results in that happening to NASA remains to be seen. Cruz serves a constituency in Texas, home of many NASA employees who would likewise hope to see America's "continued leadership in space." But on that front, there is some history. In July 2013, Cruz attempted to amend a spending authorization bill so that it reduced the amount of funding for NASA, only to have the amendment shot down along party lines.

Cruz will also have some new GOP company in other subcommittees for the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee. Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican, will chair the subcommittee overseeing the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

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