Committee Republicans Set NASA up to Fail with Flawed Bill - Positive Democratic Alternative Defeated

Jul 18, 2013
Committee Republicans Set NASA up to Fail with Flawed Bill - Positive Democratic Alternative Defeated

(Washington, DC) - Today the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology held a markup of H.R. 2687, the “National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2013.” 

H.R. 2687 was approved by the Committee on a party-line vote. 

Last week, the Space Subcommittee held a markup of a Committee print of the bill.  Ranking Member of the Space Subcommittee Donna F. Edwards had recently introduced H.R. 2616, the NASA Authorization Act of 2013, as a Democratic alternative to the Majority’s bill that she offered as an amendment in the nature of a substitute at the subcommittee markup.  H.R. 2616 would ensure a strong, balanced, multimission agency; provide a compelling vision for the human exploration program; and would fund the agency at levels commensurate with the tasks NASA is being been asked to undertake. Ms. Edwards’ amendment failed on a party-line vote.  The Committee Print also passed out of Subcommittee on a party-line vote. 

At today’s Full Committee markup, Ranking Member Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) said in her opening statement, “At the Subcommittee markup I said that the bill we are considering today ‘will hurt the NASA Centers and workforce, cripple the agency’s ability to carry out all of the responsibilities the nation has given it, and put NASA on a path to mediocrity,’ and I stand by those words today.  It gives me no pleasure to say that this is a terribly flawed piece of legislation.  I deeply wish that it were not.”

She continued, “And I want to make clear that I don’t object to the bill simply because it is a Republican bill.  This Committee has a long history of bipartisan support for NASA, and Republican Members have in the past been fierce advocates for a robust and ambitious space program for the nation.  Yet this NASA Authorization bill breaks with that proud tradition, and I frankly am at a loss to understand why.”

Read her full opening statement here.

Ranking Member of the Space Subcommittee Donna F. Edwards (D-MD) said in her opening statement, “I think we all share the goal of a strong and vibrant civil space program. I know we all say we want to work in a long-enjoyed spirit of bipartisanship but I really just can’t see how we can get there from here with this bill. The Majority knows that these funding levels are really a nonstarter and I think they set NASA on an unfortunate path to failure. I really hope that at some point we can agree that the Agency deserves much more.”

Read her full statement here.

Ms. Edwards again introduced H.R. 2616 as an amendment in the nature of a substitute.  She said, “The fact is that we are presented with a choice--we can choose to drastically reduce our federal investments in the civil space program and take a back seat to the future of space exploration OR we can choose to invest Federal resources to ensure U.S. leadership in global space science and exploration.  To ensure that the U.S. reaps those dividends—enhanced competitiveness, innovation, high-skilled jobs and inspiring goals that stimulate the next generation and our workforce.  This amendment makes a strong and clear choice to invest in a 21st century space innovation agenda.” 

Read her full statement on her amendment here.

Democratic Members of the Committee offered 35 amendments to improve the bill.  Though a number of those amendments were accepted, the majority of them were not.  

More information on the amendments can be found here.