Press Release

House Approves S&T Bill to Extend Commercial Space Transportation Liability Regime and Two Resolutions

By SpaceRef Editor
October 20, 2009
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House Approves S&T Bill to Extend Commercial Space Transportation Liability Regime and Two Resolutions

(Washington, DC) – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 3819, a bill to extend the commercial space transportation liability regime, by a voice vote. H.R. 3819, sponsored by Science and Technology Committee Chairman Bart Gordon (D-TN), was first established by Congress as part of the Commercial Space Launch Act Amendments of 1988 and has been extended four times since its original enactment. The current liability risk-sharing regime extension expires at the end of the year; H.R. 3819 would extend it for three more years.

“The commercial space transportation liability and insurance regime has worked, has not cost the American taxpayer a single dollar in claims payments to date, has strengthened the U.S. competitiveness in commercial space launch, and is not a blank check since any potential claims payments would be subject to prior Congressional appropriation,” stated Chairman Gordon, who managed the bill and resolutions on the floor.

The House also approved H.Res. 558, supporting the increase understanding of, and interest in, computer science and computing careers, by a vote of 405 to 0. This resolution, introduced by Research and Science Education Subcommittee Ranking Member Vernon Ehlers (R-MI) designates the week of December 7th as National Computer Science Education Week.

“Today’s world is run by computers. From communications, to finance, to transportation and national defense, almost every facet of the modern world is tied to computers,” said Chairman Gordon. “This resolution recognizes the importance of computer science education to our country, and encourages increased efforts and participation in this field. If we want to be truly successful in our efforts to maintain an innovation economy, we need everyone in our country involved in the effort.”

H.Res. 793, supporting the goals and ideas of National Chemistry Week, introduced by Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-TX), passed the House by a voice vote. National Chemistry Week was established in 1987 by the American Chemical Society to enhance the public’s appreciation of the chemical sciences and educate Americans, especially students, about the significant role chemistry plays in our everyday lives. H.Res. 793 designates the week of October 18, 2009 as National Chemistry Week.

“The importance of chemistry and chemical engineering in our lives cannot be overstated. These disciplines contribute to public health by helping to keep our water clean and our food pure. They contribute to advances in medicine through new biomaterials, drug design and drug delivery techniques. They help make cleaner and more efficient energy technologies possible, and they help keep toxins out of our home and our natural environment through the development of green chemicals and materials,” said Chairman Gordon. “Chemistry and chemical engineering contribute in immeasurable ways to the economic strength, security, and well-being of our nation and all its citizens.”

Lastly, the House debated H.Res. 797, raising awareness and enhancing the state of cybersecurity in the U.S., but the vote was postponed. This resolution, sponsored by Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-NY), supports the goals and ideals of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. This October marks the sixth annual National Cybersecurity Month.

“The Science and Technology Committee has been a leader in Congress supporting efforts to promote better security in cyberspace, and I am pleased support this resolution and to help raise awareness of this crucial issue,” said Chairman Gordon. “More than 200 million people in this country use the Internet. Unfortunately, with this growth in use we’ve also seen a startling increase in cyber crime. Bank accounts are being hacked, children are being bullied or harassed on social networking sites, and personal information is being stolen. Improving cybersecurity will take the effort of all the key stakeholders: federal, state and local governments, academia, industry, and individuals.”

For more information, visit the Committee’s website.

SpaceRef staff editor.