More on the authorization bill

A few additional notes about the House’s approval Friday of HR 3070:

  • The House approved three amendments, the most significant of which was a “manager’s amendment” that added $1.26 billion to the authorization for exploration programs. The amendment also allows NASA to complete the ISS “in such a configuration as to support fewer than six persons”, but only after reporting to Congress on why a six-person configuration cannot be completed.
  • Two other amendments approved Friday require NASA to report quarterly to Congress on outreach activities within its Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization, as well as submit a plan explaining how NASA will “protect employees who raise concerns about a potentially catastrophic risk to health or safety.”
  • One amendment on funding for historically black colleges was submitted and then withdrawn, while another that would involve building facilities on minority campuses that would later be turned over to industry (??) failed in a roll call vote.
  • As for Rep. Costello’s proposed amendment that would ban offshoring of ISS jobs—a provision which one person described as “Buy American on steroids”—was reportedly offered and withdrawn, but does not even merit a mention in the House Science Committee’s press release about the bill’s passage.

The bill’s passage was widely praised in press releases ranging from House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and House Science Committee space subcommittee chair Ken Calvert to the House Science Committee’s Democratic Caucus, all claiming some of the credit. Success, after all, has many parents.

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