Because remember: Obama is the science and technology president! Scientists celebrated that the Bush days of public lynchings of physicists, and underground railroads of biologists working their way North, and mass executions of geologists are finally over. Now would come a new enlightenment, and the floodgates of reason and intellect would triumphantly open their gushing public good.
Therefore, the Czar waited until the first example of the Democratic Party backstabbing science happened.
Then, the second example happened, which showed that the Obama administration was as adept at stifling inconvenient science in the way that Bush was accused of (often correctly).
We do not forget the President doing a scientifically meaningless publicity stunt, either, to meet a liberal goal of destroying conservative touchstones.
Now comes the next liberal attack on science. And remember, its allegedly the GOP who likes to cut funding to science and technology, not the logic-ruled libs!
Except, that NASA and JPL and a bunch of other necessary space-oriented organizations took one in the crotch. Congress just killed funding to restart the manufacture of plutonium 238, which goes into RTGs… the small nuclear power plants that keep spacecraft operating.
Huh? It goes like this. If you want to power a spaceship reliably, you cannot use solar panels (which require sunlight: you tend to lose this on the dark side of a planet for obvious reasons, but you also lose power the further you travel from the sun). The only alternative that will not freeze up or crash from cosmic ray interference is a radioisotope thermoelectric generator (the aforementioned RTG). An RTG provides power and heat to keep your spacecraft working in the deep cold of space, 24/7, for decades.
The radiosotope that powers these is plutonium 238. Obviously, plutonium of any kind in the wrong hands can result in a massive tragedy (no, you do not even need to load it onto a nuclear warhead; plutonium is deadly enough just by leaving it somewhere in the open). So the policy is simple (and a good one): if you are building an RTG, you ask the Department of Energy (yep, the one led by the whackjob fantasy-prone hippie) to procure it for you, rather than get it off eBay.
Problem is, were out of it. So if Russia. If you need it, we need to make more of it; this process would cost at least $150 million. And we cannot evidently afford that in the era of billion dollar donations to private interests and trillion dollar deficits.
As a result, there are a slew of projects on the table that NASA will need to put on hold while other alternatives are sought. Of course, this drives up the cost well past $150 million, so it is reasonable to think these projects will get scrapped. And that makes NASA the bad guy for yet another cost overrun instead of the Democrats who hamstrung space research and exploration. Because space exploration and research costs money that could go into social programs. And we would not want to do anything that makes nuclear power look good and safe, either.