The House has begun debate on the SPACE Act. Leader McCarthy is managing debate on the floor for Republicans.

Here are McCarthy’s opening remarks as prepared for delivery:

“America is a nation uniquely called to explore the final frontier. We are born adventurers with a spirit of freedom and curiosity unmatched in human history.

“And that spirit is aided by a wealth of intelligence so deep that we continue to lead the world in the advancement of technology and science.

“When the Wright brothers flew over the beaches of Kitty Hawk and Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier — they were supported by that spirit of freedom and a structure of laws that urged them to realize their dreams and change the world at the same time.

“But the work of realizing our full potential is only just beginning. We are still paying Russia 70 million dollars every time we send one of our astronauts to the space station. Our commercial pioneers can and want to fulfill this role — but they need our help.

“The SPACE Act will help. This bill will unite law with innovation — allowing the next generation of pioneers to experiment — learn — and succeed without being constrained by premature regulatory action.

“It ensures that anyone or anything impacted by flights and flight experiments are protected. And it keeps us competitive by providing much needed flexibility in permitting and licensing — facilitating an environment that allows for swift and effective improvements in safety and reliability.

“With this law — I have great hope for the future of space exploration. Whenever I visit the Mojave Air and Spaceport — where so many of our advancements are happening — I am overcome by the feeling that the future is now.

“Upon the firm foundation of the SPACE Act — I know they and others will lead us far — and that our limits are only bounded by what we can imagine as we continue our journey to the stars.

“I reserve the balance of my time.”