Spacelift Washington: RLV rider dies as stripped down DoD bill passes

By frank_sietzen
October 3, 2001
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Spacelift Washington

Spacelift Washington Archive

WASHINGTON – Oct. 3 – The Senate passed a $345 billion military spending bill Wednesday that contained none of a rash of proposed amendments, including aid to the reusable launcher industry. By a vote of 99-0 the defense spending measure moves on to a House-Senate conference committee for a final version that will have to pass, again, both houses of the Congress. The House passed its own version late last week. In a move by Senate Majority Leader Thomas Daschle (D-SD) debate on the spending measure was curtailed, and all “non-essential” amendments were removed from the final bill, which funds the Department of Defense until Sept. 30, 2002.

Among the amendments that failed to survive was a move by New Mexico Republican Sen. Pete Dominici to provide loan guarantees to reusable launch and space vehicle entrepreneurs. It and a series of other Dominici amendments failed to make the cut in Wednesday’s vote. Some Washington observers suggested the amendment might return as an earmark to the final NASA budget bill, which is also pending before the House-Senate conference.

Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain warned the Senate prior to the vote that loading down the measure with “pork-barrel projects” would threaten the bipartisan atmosphere that has dominated political discussions following the Sept. 11th terrorist attacks in New York and Arlington, Virginia. “I’m worried that the Senate might. ..undo our good work of the past three weeks, and give the public a reason to be ashamed of us,” McCain said. In the end bipartisanship prevailed again-for the moment.

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