Press Release

NASA Authorization Act is Reported Out of Conference Committee

By SpaceRef Editor
December 16, 2005
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NASA Authorization Act is Reported Out of Conference Committee

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the House-Senate Conference Committee for S. 1281, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Authorization, issued its conference report, clearing the way for final consideration in the House and Senate.  The House is expected to pass the measure before the end of the year.

Rep. Ken Calvert (R-Corona) chairs the subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics on the House Science Committee and authored the House-version of the bill, H.R. 3070.  Rep. Calvert, who supported the final Conference report, issued the following statement before the Committee which was chaired by Sen. Hutchinson of Texas:

Madame Chairman, everyone around this table is to be congratulated for a job well done!  This is the first time since 2000 that the Congress has had a NASA Authorization.  It is critical that we have oversight for an agency that is going through such a major transition.  I also want to thank the staff for working so diligently to assure that the Authorization bill was completed this year.  I realize that this took long hours on the part of all the staff and it is great to have a final product that represents compromises made by all parties.  The bill provides the agency with the rules and tools they will need to succeed.

NASA represents only 7/10 of 1% of the Federal budget.  I think we all agree that investing in NASA is an investment in our Nation’s future.  Even in this time of budget deficits, the United States cannot abandon NASA’s research and technology, and exploration programs – it is not in the American spirit to shy away from this investment in our global leadership.

This bill represents the first time that the President’s Vision for Space Exploration has been formally endorsed by both houses of the Congress.   When the President sends to Congress his budget for FY 2007, this endorsement by the Congress can only help to “grow the support” for our Nation’s civil space program and for the Vision for Space Exploration.  We also seek equivalent strategic plans for Aeronautics and Science. 

The bill also authorizes for the first time, a competitive prize program at NASA — based on the very successful X Prize.  It will allow NASA to award prizes for technologies that are useful to NASA’s mission and serve as an incentive to encourage our best and brightest scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs to pursue technologies that NASA will need to pursue our Nation’s dreams of exploration. 

I am particularly pleased that we are doing a two-year bill, through 2008, and we look forward to providing oversight and authorization as appropriate.   I think that Mike Griffin is the right Administrator for NASA in this time of transition for the agency and it is essential he has the tools he needs to lead NASA forward and into the future.   

We all know that in a document like this, everyone had to give a little to get a little.  In fact, I have heard it said that if no one is completely happy with a bill, it is probably a good bill!  I would urge everyone to support this carefully crafted legislation and to sign the conference report.  We owe it to the Administration, to our national space enterprise and to the American people to pass this NASA Authorization bill this year.

SpaceRef staff editor.