When NASA advises the Senate that a heavy-lift launch vehicle meeting the requirements they set in law can not be developed within the time and budget constraints provided, Senators respond that the law "is not optional".
I love this. The federal government not only believes it has authority over every aspect of our lives, but authority over engineering and the laws of physics as well.
NASA and Congress spar over heavy-lift rocket - msnbc.com: "NASA has told lawmakers that it could build a heavy-lift rocket incorporating the space shuttle’s main engines, giant external tank and taller versions of the shuttle's solid-rocket boosters — but not within Congress' budget and timetable.
The NASA report, mandated by an authorization bill that became law last October, drew a tart response on Thursday from two leading senators who helped push the bill through Congress. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson, R-Texas, told NASA Administrator Charles Bolden in a letter that the law 'is not an optional, advisory document.'"