Lost in all the discussion about the NASA budget in the House last week was the Senate’s effort to press ahead with a NASA authorization bill. The full Senate Commerce Committee was scheduled to consider the bill during a markup session last Thursday (the same day that the House Appropriations Committee was meeting on the VA-HUD appropriations bill), but didn’t have time to take up the bill, according to SPACE.com. The Washington Post helps explain why they may not have had the time to deal with it: one committee member invoked a rarely-used rule that limits hearings to two hours in length when the Senate is in session. The maneuver was not linked to the NASA bill but was instead a bid by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) to put off the committee’s consideration of a controversial nominee to head the FTC.
Committee chairman Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said the committee would consider the bill in September after their return from summer recess. It may be a moot point, though, since the House has yet to introduce an authorization bill and the House Majority Leader, Tom DeLay, has said it is unlikely the House will be able to pass one this year.