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Space Subcommittee Approves Bipartisan N.A.S.A. Authorization Act

Contributor: Rachael Thomas
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Updated: 4/09 1:45 pm
The Space Subcommittee Wednesday approved the N.A.S.A. Authorization Act of 2014 (H.R. 4412) with unanimous bipartisan support. The bill updates the previously committee-approved bill to reflect the funding agreement reached in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014. The Subcommittee also approved a bipartisan Palazzo-Edwards amendment that ensures sustainability of purpose and budget for high-priority N.A.S.A. programs. The amendment reaffirms Congress’s commitment to space exploration, both human and robotic, and makes clear that a human mission to Mars is the goal for N.A.S.A.’s human spaceflight program with biennial reports for what progress has been made toward that goal.

Space Subcommittee Chairman Steven Palazzo (R-Miss.): “I want to thank my colleague, the Ranking Member, Ms. Edwards for her hard work, determination, and patience in working with me to put together this agreement. I also appreciate the support of full Committee Chairman Smith and Ranking Member Johnson. This agreement represents this Subcommittee’s commitment to our nation’s leadership in space and a secure future for N.A.S.A. Finding bipartisan agreement in an austere budget environment is never an easy task, and our work is not done. I feel this is good first step.”

Space Subcommittee Ranking Member Donna Edwards (D-Md.): “Today’s bipartisan markup is a strong first step in maintaining N.A.S.A.’s preeminence as a robust space agency and global leader. I want to thank Chairman Palazzo for his leadership and willingness to engage on the tough issues facing N.A.S.A. I look forward to working with Chairman Lamar Smith and Ranking Member Eddie Bernice Johnson to bring this bill before the full House and see it through to enactment.”

Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas): “At a fundamental level, space exploration—the mission of N.A.S.A.—is about inspiration. The agreement reached by Chairman Palazzo and Ranking Member Edwards demonstrates what we can accomplish together. It is my hope that the bipartisanship embodied in this agreement will establish a precedent of the future. I look forward to continuing this discussion with Ranking Member Johnson. It is my desire to move this bill through the Full Committee and to the House floor as soon as possible.”

Ranking Member Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas): “Today’s subcommittee markup represents a step forward for N.A.S.A.…It is also a step forward for our Committee. Chairman Palazzo, Chairman Smith, and their staffs have worked constructively with Ranking Member Edwards and me and our staffs to try to reach agreement on a bipartisan N.A.S.A. bill—something that had always been a hallmark of this Committee. It has not been easy to get to where we are today, and the Committee’s work on this N.A.S.A. Reauthorization bill is by no means done. However, I greatly appreciate the willingness of Chairman Palazzo and Chairman Smith to work with us, and I look forward to our continued collaboration so that at the end of the process we can have a bill that we will all take pride in having enacted into law.”

The bipartisan N.A.S.A. Authorization Act passed by voice vote in Subcommittee Wednesday continues the consistent guidance Congress has given to N.A.S.A. for nearly a decade by reaffirming a stepping stone approach to exploration in a go-as-you-can-afford-to-pay manner by developing an exploration road map. It supports the development on the Space Launch System and the Orion Crew Vehicle to push the boundaries of human exploration, and focuses N.A.S.A.’s efforts to develop a capability to access low Earth orbit and the International Space Station so that America can once again launch American astronauts on American rockets from American soil.

The bill also supports a healthy science directorate that reflects the input from the scientific community and an aeronautics research directorate that contributes to our nation’s aerospace economy. The bill establishes necessary oversight provisions to ensure that N.A.S.A. manages its programs and projects efficiently and effectively.

For more information about today’s markup, including the full text of the bill and the amendment, visit the Science, Space, and Technology Committee website at: http://science.house.gov/markup/subcommittee-space-markup-hr-national-aeronautics-and-space-administration-authorization-act
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