Commercial Spaceflight Federation Seeks Bailout Money for Industry

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

With the economy grinding to a halt, the Commercial Spaceflight Federation (CSF) is seeking billions of dollars from the federal government to keep the rockets launching on time.

In a March 18 letter sent to Congressional leaders, CSF President Eric Stallmer proposed establishing “a $5 billion grant and/or low-interest loan program to ensure the continued availability of critical aerospace infrastructure, capability, personnel, and mission readiness to maintain assured access to space for national security, civil, and commercial space missions.

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EXIM Bank Reauthorized for Seven Years

Washington, D.C. (Ex-Im Bank PR) – President Donald J. Trump signed legislation today that reauthorized the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) for a historic length of seven years. The bipartisan legislation approved by Congress achieved two important goals: providing certainty to American businesses and workers that EXIM is fully open for business, and giving clear direction to focus on the economic and national security challenges from China. 

“I thank President Trump for making history today by signing into law the longest reauthorization of EXIM in the agency’s 85-year history,” said EXIM President and Chairman Kimberly A. Reed. “The legislation signed into law by the President also directs EXIM to focus on the important economic and national security challenges posed by China, which at my direction, EXIM has prioritized since my confirmation in May. I am proud to have the support of President Trump and Congress in this undertaking.”

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China Making Aggressive Moves to Dominate Commercial Space Sector

China satellite launch

Continuing our look at the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission’s 2019 Report to Congress, we examine China’s growing commercial space industry. [Full Report]

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

China is using aggressive state-backed financing to capture increasing shares of the commercial launch and satellite markets, making it more difficult for American companies to compete and threatening to hollow out the U.S. industrial base.

China is also leverage “military-civil” fusion to create a burgeoning commercial space sector by providing substantial state support. Nearly 90 new space companies have been created since 2014, most of which enjoy the support of the Chinese military, defense industrial base, or state-owned research and development institutions.

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Ex-Im Bank Back in Business After Senate Approves Nominees

The U.S. Senate has put the Export-Import Bank back in full operation by confirming the nominations of Spencer Bachus, Judith DelZoppo and Kimberley Reed to fill open positions on the bank’s Board of Directors. Reed will serve as the board’s president.

The bank, which helps U.S. companies finance purchases by foreign buyers, has been limited to approving deals worth $10 million or less over the past several years by a political deadlock over filling seats. Aerospace companies have said they have lost business as a result.

Aerospace Industries Association President and CEO Eric Fanning praised today’s confirmations in a statement.

The Bank now has the required number of Directors to approve transactions over $10 million, and immediately can begin work to reduce the backlog of $40 billion in deals that have been awaiting approval. This begins to put American exporters on a level playing field with international competition with active support from their domestic export credit agencies.

The next step to send a clear signal that America is serious about competing in the global marketplace is for Congress to begin work on a long-term authorization for the Bank. The Bank’s current authorization expires at the end of the fiscal year, and American exporters will once again be fighting an uphill battle if Congress fails to pass a reauthorization bill.

The Bank is an important tool for American industry, including aerospace companies of all sizes. We look forward to working with Congress and the administration to ensure the Bank has the support it needs to fulfill its critical mission of supporting American exporters.











Ex-Im Bank Board Seats Remain Unfilled

With the new Congress, the president’s nominations to fill open seats on the Export-Import Bank have expired and need to be resubmitted to Congress. This limits the board to financing small deals, with larger ones for various satellite manufacturers and launch providers prohibited until the seats are filled. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) has been blocking hearings on nominees.











Senate Banking Committee Rejects Trump’s Nominee to Head Ex-Im Bank


Donald Trump’s practice of nominating people to run agencies they oppose (Rick Perry), have no discernible expertise in (Perry again), or have no understanding of what they actually do (ditto) finally seems to have hit a brick wall.

The Senate Banking Committee rejected the White House’s nomination of former New Jersey Congressman Scott Garrett to chair the Export-Import Bank, which helps U.S. companies finance sales of products to foreign buyers. The bank has been used by aviation, space and satellite companies such as Boeing and SpaceX.

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AIA Ramps Up Campaign Against Ex-Im Bank Nominee Scott Garrett

Arlington, Va. (AIAA PR) — The Aerospace Industries Association is launching a multi-tiered campaign reiterating the importance of the long-term health of the U.S. Export-Import Bank ahead of an important nomination hearing for the Bank leadership.

This week, AIA President and CEO David F. Melcher sent a letter to the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, calling on them to restore a working quorum on the Bank’s Board of Directors by confirming four of the nominees and rejecting confirmation of Scott Garrett. Concurrently, AIA is launching an ad campaign highlighting the importance of confirming an Ex-Im Chairman that believes in the important mission Ex-Im plays in the American economy. Nominee Scott Garrett has a long history of actions and statements designed to destroy the agency, demonstrating he is not the leader Ex-Im needs or American industry deserves.

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AIA Urges Trump to Withdraw Ex-Im Bank Nomination

Statement by AIA President and CEO David F. Melcher urging President Trump to withdraw the nomination of Congressman Scott Garrett to chair the Export-Import Bank of the United States and submit nominations for a full Board of Directors that will support the Bank’s key mission.

Arlington, Va. — Since the reauthorization of the U.S. Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im) in 2015, AIA has continually stressed the need to establish a quorum on the five member Ex-Im Board of Directors and make the Bank fully functional to ensure America’s aerospace and defense industry — which supports 2.4 million American workers — can compete on a level playing field.  That is why we initially met President Trump’s announcement in April of his support for Ex-Im and its mission with great optimism.

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AIA Policy Recommendations for Improving U.S. Space Competitiveness


Engine for Growth:
Analysis and Recommendations for U.S. Space Industry Competitiveness

Aerospace Industries Association
May 2017
[Full Report]

Policy Recommendations
for Strengthening U.S. Space Competitiveness

1. Level the Playing Field

Provide a responsive regulatory environment for commercial space activities. The list of commercial space activities is varied and growing, ranging from traditional applications such as satellite telecommunications to emerging ones like space resource utilization. At the same time, the U.S. space industry is governed by multiple federal agencies with disparate regulatory interests, including the Federal Communications Commission, the Federal Aviation Administration and Departments of State and Commerce. These agencies often suffer from funding and staffi ng shortages, a situation that creates bottlenecks in licensing processes and slows responsiveness to technological and market changes. The new Administration should work closely with Congress to ensure that the appropriate space regulatory agencies are fully resourced and staffed.
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Trump Nominates Fierce Critic of Ex-Im Bank to Lead Agency

Donald Trump (Credit: Michael Vadon)

Continuing a tradition of nominating people who hate the organizations they have been selected to run (Rick Perry at Energy, Scott Pruitt at EPA), President Donald Trump has nominated a vocal critic of the Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank to head the lending agency.

Former Rep. Scott Garrett (R-N.J.), who voted twice against reauthorizing the bank while in Congress, will be nominated as president of the bank. Separately, former Rep. Spencer T. Bachus III (R-Ala.) will be nominated to join the bank’s board. Both nominees require congressional confirmation.

Garrett, a deeply conservative Congressman who helped found the House Freedom Caucus, has in the past heavily criticized the agency he may now be tasked with leading. In a speech on the floor of the House in 2015, Garrett called the Ex-Im Bank a “fund for corporate welfare” and “a bank that embodies the corruption of the free enterprise system.”

The bank, which offers financial support to U.S. exporters, is despised by some conservative Republicans, who have forced it to remain effectively dormant for nearly two years. Yet the appointments themselves could allow the bank to resume lending in earnest, after being effectively barred from acting by a lack of leadership.

Trump opposed the bank during the campaign, but indicated he planned to reopen the bank for business in an interview with the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday — one of several recent decisions by the president that suggest a shift in his views on economic policy.

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AIA Urges Congress to Pass Budget, Lift Limit on Ex-Im Bank Deals

aialogosmARLINGTON, Va. (AIA PR) — Aerospace Industries Association sent a letter today urging Congress to pass a completed FY2017 appropriation package rather than a full-year continuing resolution. We also ask that the ExIm Bank be enabled to process transactions more than $10 million. It was signed by more than 70 CEOs and senior industry representatives from AIA member companies.

The letter argues that the aerospace and defense industry is “arguably the most successful sector in our country,” contributing significantly to our nation’s economic growth, stability and national security despite “great uncertainty and instability in both the marketplace and with regard to annual government funding.” Our innovative industry supports our military, the dynamic aerospace sector and space exploration, and few things would offer a greater sense of stability going forward than completing the final FY2017 appropriations bills and restoring the ExIm Bank to full functionality.

Dear Speaker Ryan, Leader McConnell, Leader Pelosi, and Leader Reid:

With the 114th Congress coming to a close, the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) and the leaders of our member companies would like to express our strong support for efforts to pass appropriations legislation providing full year FY 17 funding for the federal government.

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AIA Commercial Space Competitiveness Strategy for the 21st Century

aia_horizon
Commercial Space Competitiveness Strategy for the 21st Century
Aerospace Industries Association

The United States was the leader in space for much of the early Space Age after initial Soviet successes. From the development of the Saturn V rocket and the Apollo Lunar landing program, to development of the first communications satellites and the Global Positioning System, the U.S. has been the primary driver of both the exploration and commercial utilization of space.

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Welcome to Shelbyville: Ex-Im Bank Hobbled as Nomination Remains Bottled Up

Sen. Richard Shelby
Sen. Richard Shelby

The Export Import Bank remains hobbled as Senate Banking Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL) refuses to consider President Barack Obama’s nomination of J. Mark McWatters nomination to fill an open seat on the bank’s board.

Until the position is filled, the bank cannot provide financing for U.S. export deals worth more than $10 million. This has left Boeing, SpaceX, satellite manufacturers and other companies that have used the bank in the lurch.

The bank’s authorization lapsed last summer, causing it to temporarily shut down. Congress reauthorized it late last year, but McWatter’s nomination has remained in limbo since the president made it in January.

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AIA Sees Significant Progress in 2015 for Aerospace & Defense Manufacturers

aialogosmARLINGTON, Va. (AIA PR) – The aerospace and defense industry had a strong year in 2015, achieving a number of its top priorities. Despite a lengthy delay, the Export-Import Bank of the United States was reauthorized for four years; significant relief from the budget caps imposed under the Budget Control Act of 2011 was achieved for 2016 and 2017 with passage of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015; and there are hopeful signs that a year-long omnibus with an extension of the R&D Tax Credit will pass shortly.

“2015 was a year that saw great progress on a number of initiatives for the aerospace and defense industry,” said AIA President and CEO Dave Melcher. “From Ex-Im to the budget deal, we achieved many of our goals, but there’s still a lot of work to do.”

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AIA Praises Ex-Im Bank Reauthorization

aialogosmStatement by Aerospace Industries Association President and CEO David F. Melcher on reauthorization of the Export Import Bank of the United States.

Arlington, Va. — AIA welcomes last night’s passage of a five-year transportation bill – this is the first time in 17 years that the House and Senate have come together to produce a transportation bill of this length and duration and we congratulate them on that accomplishment.

In particular, we are relieved and delighted that the bill served as a vehicle for a four-year reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank of the United States. The Ex-Im Bank is a valuable tool supporting exports in the aerospace industry – the leading export industry in the U.S. manufacturing sector with a trade surplus of nearly $62 billion. By reauthorizing the Bank, America is sending a clear signal that we are serious about competing in the global marketplace and will take the necessary steps to ensure American exporters have a level playing field.

One last item remains for the Ex-Im Bank to become fully functional again. Currently the bank does not have the required number Directors on their Board to approve any transaction over $10 million. Filling the other seats requires the cooperation of the U.S. Senate and the White House. We urge President Obama and Senate leadership to nominate and confirm new Members to the Ex-Im Board expeditiously.

We applaud the leadership shown by the champions of Ex-Im Bank. Without their tireless work and energy, passage of this bill would not have been possible. We will need their continued support and leadership in future debates impacting the health and global competitiveness of the aerospace industry.