Ted Cruz (R-TX), a man who has previously claimed that there is no evidence supporting global warming over the past 15 years is now going to be in charge of the Senate subcommittee on Science, Space, and Competitiveness…effectively putting him in charge of NASA’s funding. In fact, Cruz has previously fought to cut spending on NASA, and many analysts fear for what might happen under his control.
Given the Tea Party’s influence on the GOP, expect to see funding cuts for climate change research and lax restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions. Though Cruz has stated he wants to continue asserting America’s superiority in space exploration, he has not been anywhere as positive about environmental research.
Furthermore, fellow climate change denier Senator Marco Rubio will be in charge of the NOAA, marking yet another Republican chair who could put environmental safety at risk. It remains to be seen how Rubio will approach his new job.
Republicans have already been pushing for looser drilling restrictions in the past, such as when they attempted to pass the Keystone Pipeline bill. Expect even greater pushes now that they have a majority.
This move has the potential to either spark major power plays from the Republican Party in the coming two years, or it may spell disaster if conservatives can’t produce tangible results. Especially if new data continues to emerge in favor of climate change (revealing just how out of touch the Right is with science), it could mean yet another loss when the 2016 presidential election comes around. If that does end up being the case, the pendulum could indeed swing back in favor of the Democrats entirely, leaving Republicans in much worse shape than before. The next two years will decide.
Photo credit: Jamelle Boule, Flickr (https://www.flickr.com/photos/jbouie/10664313236/)