Subcommittee Approves NASA Reauthorization Bill

Jul 10, 2013

Washington, D.C. – The Space Subcommittee today approved a draft bill to reauthorize programs at NASA for two years, including a topline budget of $16.8 billion dollars for the agency, which is consistent with the requirements of the Budget Control Act.

Space Subcommittee Chairman Steven Palazzo (R-Miss.): “My goal is to ensure that Congress – and this Subcommittee – does everything in its power to support the next generation of explorers and maintain America’s leadership in space. In order to protect the American space legacy, we must make hard choices, prioritize budgets, and give NASA direction for future endeavors.

“I and many of my colleagues stand ready to work with the Senate and the Administration to find alternatives to the Budget Control Act, but at this time it is the reality under which we must operate. Until we find a way to reform entitlements and mandatory spending, the discretionary agencies will continue to see shrinking budgets.”

In order to address concerns about insufficient funding, the draft bill ensures the continued development of the next generation of human space flight vehicles by investing in the Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion crew capsule.  The bill directs significantly more funds for development of SLS and Exploration Ground Systems than was included in the President’s request.  It also ensures efficient and effective utilization of the International Space Station, the on-schedule development of the commercial crew program, and continued delivery of supplies with the Commercial Resupply Services program.

The draft bill also addresses two problematic Obama administration proposals that witnesses have told the Committee lack in details and budget justification. Specifically, the bill halts a proposal to consolidate NASA education programs into other agencies and prohibits NASA from beginning work on the Asteroid Retrieval Mission until the administration can provide more detailed information.

Chairman Palazzo: “As lawmakers, we have a responsibility to put forth serious policies with realistic approaches to the current fiscal environment and the constraints of the law. Many of my friends on the other side of the aisle voted for the Budget Control Act and while we might agree that it is far from ideal, we’ve yet to see an alternative. Until we do, we must make serious and good faith efforts to do the best we can with the hand we’ve been dealt. That is the intent of the bill we have today.”

The draft bill was approved by the Subcommittee by a vote of 11 to 9.

For additional information about the markup, including amendments and roll call votes, please visit the Science, Space, and Technology Committee website.