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As the ranking member of the House VA-HUD and Independent Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee that funds NASA programs and a past supporter of the Advanced Solid Rocket Motor (ASRM) program, I wanted to share with you the outstanding role Congressman Jim Hansen played in defeating the ASRM last year.

While the ASRM program has had a controversial history, it enjoyed the strong support of a number of congressional leaders as well as the Clinton administration. In spite of these odds, Jim has been consistent in his effort to cut what he views as a costly federal program needlessly wasting taxpayer dollars and endangering the jobs of many Utah citizens.Admittedly, Jim had his work cut out for him. On more than one occasion, I noted that he was the only member of Congress testifying before the Rules Committee in opposition to ASRM legislation. But he didn't stop there. Jim spoke with legislators, created a bipartisan coalition to terminate the program and succeeded by taking advantage of every creative legislative strategy available to him.

Many outspoken critics will claim credit for the defeat of the ASRM program. However, as most political observers know, it takes little effort to make a two-minute floor speech and claim credit later. While other politicians talked a good game about terminating this program, Jim was active in the important behind-the-scenes work that rarely gets noticed. He got the job done.

Jim Hansen is by his very nature a modest and unassuming individual, rare qualities for a member of Congress. While we disagreed on the merits of the ASRM program, I, for one, recognize that his dogged determination and quiet effectiveness are responsible for his ability to win the tough battles in Congress while representing the interests of the people of Utah.

Jerry Lewis

Member of Congress