Statement of Chairman Lamar Smith: Hearing on Necessary Changes to the Commercial Space Launch Act

Press Release From: House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology
Posted: Tuesday, February 4, 2014


Chairman Smith: Thank you Chairman Palazzo for holding this hearing. And I thank the witnesses for being here to share their expertise on this topic.

Americans' record of ingenuity is filled with examples of entrepreneurs who pushed the boundaries of the possible. The commercial space industry relies on this same creative spirit. Three decades ago, Congress and President Reagan worked together to pass the Commercial Space Launch Act. This legislation paved the way for American entrepreneurs to reach for the stars.

America has always been a nation of innovators and explorers. We continue to remain on the forefront of new discoveries and technologies. Members of Congress were looking toward the future when they passed the Commercial Space Launch Act. They had the foresight to understand that space may not be the final frontier, but it is certainly the next one.

Were it not for this legislation, perhaps we would not have some of the modern conveniences that we take for granted today. The Space Subcommittee recently held a hearing with representatives of the commercial space industry. The message from those witnesses was clear. They need the government to be consistent in its policy. And regulations need to allow them flexibility to develop their businesses and hire more American workers.

In 1984, there were 18 federal agencies involved in every launch. The system was inefficient and suffocated the industry. Congress passed the Commercial Space Launch Act to get government out of the way and reduce bureaucracy so American businesses could be innovative and develop. Perhaps we can continue to learn from that wise strategy.

Today the subcommittee will examine various aspects of the commercial space launch industry and how it is affected by the act. There are several provisions of the law that need to be updated. As the industry continues to evolve, so must the laws that govern it.

As Chairman Palazzo pointed out, by working together we can develop bipartisan solutions to the various issues that face the commercial space sector.

I look forward to working with him and our friends on the other side of the aisle to draft a commercial space bill that will encourage the growth of the commercial space industry.

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