CSF: Compromise NASA Funding Bill Needs Work

CSF PRESS RELEASE

Following today’s executive session of the Senate Commerce Committee, the President of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, Bretton Alexander, stated, “Thanks to Senators Warner, Boxer, Udall, and Brownback, American industry won a victory today. But this legislation must be improved so that we create more sustainable American jobs, instead of exporting jobs to Russia. This compromise committee bill represents progress from the original draft, but there is still a long way to go to get to where the Augustine Committee said NASA needs to be.”

“We strongly supported Senator Warner’s proposed amendment to increase funding for, and remove needless restrictions on the development of, commercial crew and cargo. We greatly appreciate all that Senator Warner did to promote commercial spaceflight and help the United States regain its human spaceflight capability quickly.” Alexander added, “Senator Boxer’s leadership has also been pivotal in securing improvements to the bill.”

Alexander continued, “The Senate committee’s recognition that commercial systems, not government systems, will be the primary means of crew transportation to the International Space Station represents a milestone for our industry. Instead of spending money to purchase seats on Russian launch vehicles, the commercial industry will create jobs and critical technological capabilities here in America through investment in commercial spaceflight. I would also note that Senator Nelson has stated that he intends to fund commercial crew fully over the envisioned six-year timeframe for the program. Moving forward, a firm Congressional commitment to commercial spaceflight will be critical to enable industry to accelerate its rate of hiring and job creation.”

Alexander also applauded Senator Tom Udall of New Mexico, saying, “The Senate Committee also adopted Senator Udall’s amendment specifying funding and support for NASA’s innovative Commercial Reusable Suborbital Research (CRuSR) Program, which will enable university students and researchers to fly science payloads aboard new low-cost commercial suborbital vehicles whose development is well underway.”

During this morning’s markup, Senators Boxer and Warner made several comments supportive of commercial spaceflight. These quotes can be viewed in the Senate Commerce Committee webcast at 39:00 and 53:50 respectively, and verbatim versions are provided below for reference.

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July 15 Markup: Webcast Quotes from Senators Boxer and Warner

Senator Boxer: “As we move to the floor, I’m going to be teaming up with some colleagues who would like to see a little more done on the commercial side, so we’ll all work together and maybe we can get that done. We think this is a great area and we know the Committee worked hard to find that balance but we’d like to work a little more on that.” (39:00 into webcast)

Senator Warner: “I wanted to highlight two things as somebody who’s been a large advocate of commercial spaceflight, both from a cargo standpoint and ultimately from a manned standpoint. I want to thank Senator Nelson and the work of the Chairman and others to make sure that the funding levels moved up from where the draft legislation was. I know it’s been a challenging process, I know the Administration has been working with us and others as well who are advocates of commercial space, and I think there may be even more room to go, but I think this is a very important good faith-effort.” (53:50 into webcast)