Congress, NASA

If at first you don’t succeed…

Last week a group of senators led by Sen. George LeMieux (R-FL) introduced an amendment to the FAA reauthorization bill defending Constellation. That amendment reiterated an earlier provision in the FY2010 appropriations bill preventing NASA from terminating any part of Constellation and related measures. That amendment, though, was never taken up, and the FAA legislation was passed without it.

That, though, has not deterred LeMieux and his colleagues. On Thursday he introduced S. 3180, a bill that contains the same provisions as his earlier amendment, including requiring the GAO to perform an assessment of Constellation and providing “assurance” that the remaining payloads on the shuttle manifest will be launched. It also waives provisions of the Anti-Deficiency Act so that they can’t “be utilized as a basis for the termination or elimination” of any part of Constellation. The bill has six cosponsors, similar to that his earlier amendment but with one key difference: Sen. Bob Bennett (R-UT) is replaced by Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX). That could be important as the bill has been referred to the Senate Commerce Committee, where Sen. Hutchison is the ranking member.

14 comments to If at first you don’t succeed…

  • Robert G. Oler

    I assume that Bennett begged off to get the bill in the Commerce committee? But it would be entertaining to know if this had anything to do with his tough fight out in Utah. Bennett is having a “moderately difficult” (to use Orin Hatch’s words) in the primary..and part of it according to both sources that I have read..and Hatch doing an interview on MSNBC with Andrea M. is spending.

    I cannot imagine that the argument is over spending for the home team…but it was in Texas with KBH and I wonder if Bennett went off the bill because of that? I dont know that is just speculation.

    Having said that I will be very surprised if Obama goes to the Cape and makes some sort of significant compromise on his plan. Obama has picked up a lot of strength (As I predicted) from his health care win and worse the GOP opposition to him is starting to look like a chicken with its head cut off.

    anything is possible (while typing this I am watching a very sad scene…McCain with Palin sigh) but I dont see the opposition to the Obama plan gaining any momenteum past the “save our pork” group.

    And Obama is becoming 10 feet tall.

    Robert G. Oler

  • Vladislaw

    From the Senate Bill he submitted:

    “(d) Current Shuttle Manifest Flight Assurance- The Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration shall take all actions necessary to ensure shuttle launch capability, including not terminating any contractor support that will limit or impair the launching of, at a minimum, the payloads manifested for the shuttle as of the date of the enactment of this Act.”

    Who is talking about cutting any of the last 4 flights of the STS?

  • Robert G. Oler

    Vladislaw wrote @ March 27th, 2010 at 12:56 pm

    nice point Robert G. Oler

  • Obama has picked up a lot of strength (As I predicted) from his health care win and worse the GOP opposition to him is starting to look like a chicken with its head cut off.

    …And Obama is becoming 10 feet tall.

    [rolling eyes]

  • Major Tom

    “It also waives provisions of the Anti-Deficiency Act so that they can’t “be utilized as a basis for the termination or elimination” of any part of Constellation.”

    The Anti-Deficiency Act can’t be waived. The government can’t maintain commitments it hasn’t provided money for. That opens the government up to all sorts of lawsuits from the contractors involved. If LeMieux & Crew want NASA to continue Constellation contracts, then they need to pass the necessary appropriations bills into law. Waiving the Anti-Deficiency Act doesn’t provide funding. (Duh…)

    Even if the Anti-Deficiency Act could be waived, the Constitution itself prohibits any branch of the Federal government from expending funds unless appropriated by Congress. NASA can’t commit a future Congress to funding Constellation’s termination costs. (Double duh…)

    Are LeMieux and his staff really this ignorant of contract and constitutional law?

    Goofy…

    “The bill has six cosponsors, similar to that his earlier amendment but with one key difference: Sen. Bob Bennett (R-UT) is replaced by Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX). That could be important as the bill has been referred to the Senate Commerce Committee, where Sen. Hutchison is the ranking member.”

    Bills referred to a committee, instead of originating from a committee, often, maybe even typically, die in committee. It’s hard to see the committee chair, Jay Rockefeller, making this a priority.

    FWIW…

  • Major Tom,

    The Anti-Deficiency Act can’t be waived.

    Looks like that law degree came in handy…wait a minute! You don’t have a law degree.

    The Anti-Deficiency Act can be waived, as was done for Boeing and Rocketdyne on their Ares I second-stage contracts.

  • Major Tom

    “The Anti-Deficiency Act can be waived, as was done for Boeing and Rocketdyne on their Ares I second-stage contracts.”

    Reference? Evidence?

    FWIW…

  • Major Tom

    [Hit send too soon...]

    “The Anti-Deficiency Act can be waived, as was done for Boeing and Rocketdyne on their Ares I second-stage contracts.”

    Reference? Evidence?

    Where has Congress passed a bill and the President signed into law a provision waiving the Anti-Deficiency Act for the Ares I upper stage?

    FWIW…

  • Al Fansome

    MAJOR TOM: “Bills referred to a committee, instead of originating from a committee, often, maybe even typically, die in committee. It’s hard to see the committee chair, Jay Rockefeller, making this a priority.”

    Oh, come on Tom.

    Senator Rockefeller will be first in line to defend Constellation. Don’t you remember last July when he said:

    http://www.aip.org/fyi/2009/088.html

    “I need bolstering on NASA” he said, asking Bolden and Garver what they would do to restore the agency to its former position. Rockefeller went on to say that NASA was “more a splendid story of the past” which since then “had some really bad mishaps.” He told the nominees that support for NASA has to be earned every year, warning that “it is not a given.”

    Ooops. I guess not.

    Don’t depend on any legislation getting out of Rockefeller’s committee that overturns the President’s decision on Constellation.

    FWIW,

    - Al

  • Al Fansome

    HILLHOUSE:

    {OPEN MOUTH} “The Anti-Deficiency Act

    {INSERT FOOT} can be waived,

    {INSERT OTHER FOOT} as was done for Boeing and Rocketdyne on their Ares I second-stage contracts.”

  • Major Tom

    “Don’t depend on any legislation getting out of Rockefeller’s committee that overturns the President’s decision on Constellation.”

    Nice find on that quote.

    FWIW…

  • richardb

    Nice piece in Space News on testimony from Thomas Young, ex CEO from the old Martin Marietta Corp.
    http://www.spacenews.com/policy/100326-young-hits-spaceflight-plan.html

    Again, for all those claiming wisdom in Obama Nasa policy, Young in essence says hold on their partner, Obama’s commercial approach was tried before and failed “The results were devastating, and the adverse impact is still with us today.”. Of course he’s referring to the comparatively simpler jobs of building infinitely complex NRO satellites rather than the infinitely more complex task of building Ares for instance.

  • Major Tom

    “Nice piece in Space News on testimony from Thomas Young, ex CEO from the old Martin Marietta Corp.”

    Mr. Foust started a discussion on this topic three threads ago. Post there.

    “Again, for all those claiming wisdom in Obama Nasa policy, Young in essence says hold on their partner, Obama’s commercial approach was tried before and failed”

    Commercial crew has not been tried. DOD threw most of the oversight and insight out of their development contracts during the 90s. Nothing of the sort is being proposed for commercial crew.

    Young’s expertise is in unmanned space missions (Viking, Marietta R&T, Mars mission failure reviews, NPOESS failure review, etc.). He’s misapplying lessons from the unmanned, military world to the manned, civil/commercial world.

    And it’s not “Obama’s commercial approach”. Commercial crew was an option under COTS in the prior Administration, and it was a feature of every non-POR option in the Augustine report months before the FY11 budget came out.

    “Of course he’s referring to the comparatively simpler jobs of building infinitely complex NRO satellites rather than the infinitely more complex task of building Ares for instance.”

    JWST-class recon satellites are more complex than most launch vehicles. Ares is not more complex than those satellites, but it was made needlessly complex. That’s why it’s billions of dollars over budget, years behind schedule, technically fragile, and being replaced by simpler commercial launchers.

    FWIW…

  • [...] If at first you don’t succeed… – Space Politics [...]

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