WASHINGTON, D.C. – The House today approved the conference report for H.R.
1654, the NASA Authorization Act of 2000 by a 399-17 margin. The bill
authorizes $13.6 billion for this fiscal year (FY), $14.2 billion for FY
’01, and $14.6 for FY ’02 for NASA’s programs.

“Sending this NASA authorization legislation to the President will mark the
first time Congress has done so since 1992. Overall, we’re recommending a
one percent increase over the President’s request for NASA funding in fiscal
years 2001 and 2002, principally in the areas of science, aeronautics, and
technology. These critical investments will continue developing our
knowledge in areas ranging from the growth of cancer cells to the El Nino
weather effect on Earth and the nature of black holes deep within our
universe,” commented House Science Committee Chairman F. James
Sensenbrenner, Jr., (R-WI), the chairman of the conference committee.
“We’ve also built a strong bipartisan consensus on the policies needed to
improve management of the Space Station program, which will serve as the
backbone of our Human Spaceflight program for the next two decades.”

“This is an important bill because it helps put a Congressional imprimatur
on the civil space program. We’ve built a strong bipartisan consensus that
the federal government needs to do more to promote cheap access to space by
using competition to push the development of new technology, one of my top
priorities since my first day in Congress,” said House Space and Aeronautics
Subcommittee Chairman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA). “We’ve authorized full
funding for the Space Launch Initiative, which we had actually done in the
House before the President submitted his FY2001 budget request and gave it a
formal name. That’s a strong signal that America’s elected officials are on
the same page and I look forward to the day when the President signs the
bill into law.”

The bill addresses ongoing problems with partners who have difficulty
meeting their International Space Station (ISS) commitments. The
provisions: 1) direct the highest levels of the U.S. government to raise the
issue with their Russian counterparts; 2) direct the NASA Administrator to
renegotiate the appropriate international agreements to correlate the
benefits each partner receives from the ISS with their resource
contributions to it; and 3) direct the Administrator to seek a reduction in
the U.S.’s share of the ISS’s operating costs as compensation for any
additional capabilities the U.S. provides to the ISS through NASA’s Russian
Program Assurance activities.

Rep. Dave Weldon, (R-FL) stated, “This is just one more example of how the
Congress has been and will be committed to working toward America’s future
in space.”

H.R. 1654 sets a cost cap for the ISS in an effort to control the program’s
cost growth. The legislation also prohibits designing, procuring, or
developing a replacement inflatable space module but does allow NASA to
lease such a module under certain conditions. Additionally, the bill
provides a 10.8 percent boost in FY ’01 and a 14.3 percent increase in FY
’02 for life and microgravity research. This area has seen a roughly $1
billion reduction over the last four years.

The overall authorization levels for FY ’01 and ’02 are approximately one
percent over the levels included in the Administration’s February 2001
budget request.

Full funding figures are available at

The legislation is expected to pass the Senate and be signed by President
Clinton in the next few weeks. H.R. 1654 would mark the first NASA
authorization signed into law in eight years.