The Senate Commerce Committee has announced that Rep. Jim. Bridenstine, R-Oklahoma, will finally get his hearing on the subject of his nomination to be Nasa Administrator on November 1. Bridenstine’s appointment will be considered along with three Commerce Department Nominees, so the opportunity for questions will be limited,

Bridenstine’s nomination has sparked expressions of opposition from some science groups, including the Union of Concerned Scientists. He has also been accused of harboring anti-LGBT bigotry due to past opposition to same-sex marriage. Nevertheless, only one Senator, Patty Murray, a Democrat from Washington State, has joined in opposition to Bridenstine’s nomination.

She has outlined the reasons for her opposition in a letter to Sen. John Thune, R-North Dakota, and Sen Bill Nelson, D-Florida, the chair and ranking member of the Commerce Committee respectively.

What are Sen. Murray’s issues with Bridenstine?

Sen. Murray touches on Bridenstine’s climate change skeptic remarks and his alleged homophobia, stemming from opposition to same-sex marriage, a position once taken by President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. She also brings up a new charge, that of Islamophobia. She bases this charge mostly in guilt by association maneuver, linking Bridenstine to Frank Gaffney, a former Reagan era Defense Department official and alleged anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist, and David Horowitz, a former 1960s-era student radical turned conservative activist.

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Murray also accuses Bridenstine of being soft on violence against women. She does not object that the nominee is a politician and not a scientist that some, including Sen. Nelson, have mentioned.

What are Bridenstine’s chances before the committee?

The purveyor of NASA Watch, Keith Cowing, thinks that Bridenstine has an edge to be confirmed comfortably by the Commerce Committee and the full Senate. He enjoys the support of Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Sen Richard Shelby, R-Alabama, and Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Oklahoma. Bridenstine has also gotten expressions of support from some Democratic members of the committee.

Bridenstine has also gotten the support from members of the scientific community, commercial space groups, and in particular former Apollo moonwalker Buzz Aldrin. During the hearings, Sen. Nelson is expected to bring up climate change concerns. Bridenstine has revised and extended his skepticism to add substantial support for Earth science research conducted at NASA. How Sen. Nelson will vote is unknown at this time.

The bottom line is that Bridenstine enjoys extensive support both inside the Senate and among all aerospace stakeholders. His nomination is expected to sail through the committee and the full Senate, giving NASA much-needed leadership as it moves to execute President Trump’s return to the moon mandate.