NASA Authorization Stalls in the House

by





A controversial House NASA authorization bill that appeared headed for a floor vote before Congress’ August recess will not be taken up “until September,” a House leadership aide said July 30.

With little time remaining in the fiscal year that ends Sept. 30, House Science and Technology Committee Chairman Rep. Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.) sought to bring the measure to the House floor under suspension of the rules — a move that prevents amendments to a bill and requires a two-thirds majority vote to pass. Although the committee approved the bill, H.R. 5781, with strong bipartisan support July 22, commercial space advocates oppose the measure, which provides only a fraction of the $3.3 billion NASA requested through 2013 to foster development of commercial space taxis. The bill also would continue much of the work being done under NASA’s Moon-focused Constellation program that President Barack Obama targeted for termination in his 2011 budget request.

But Gordon met resistance from some Democratic members of the California delegation hoping to weigh in on the measure during floor debate.