Nasa is welfare for scientists. The very fact that senators are making this political argument proves nasa's less about exploration then it is about exploitation of tax payers. Look at what the space entrepreneurs have achieved on a pitance. Sure, yes, duh, of course, there've been problems. Spacex has had 3 incomplete launches out of 3 tries. They've still got a long way to go, however, to match nasa's early record of failures. 4 decades after Apollo the best they can came up with is the exact same mission profile?!? Pathetic. They're not advancing at a rate which could by any objective measure be considered competent. All the US government has to do to get manned space flights going again on a regular basis is to cancel nasa. There's definitely a role for government. They've got world class test/design/analytical facilities which could be opened up to private industry. If the government provided incentives and/or awards for accomplishments it would go a lot further towards the goal of encouraging a robust, sustainable space industry. Since it's inception nasa has been a political animal. Orion is a backwards looking nostalgia boondoggle in the making.