Space News reported late yesterday that the House may vote on the NASA authorization bill as soon as Thursday. That would indicate a bit of a shift from Tuesday, when one member indicated it was unlikely the House would take up the bill this week. Rep. Pete Olson (R-TX), who attended a Space Transportation Association luncheon on Capitol Hill Tuesday, said then that “we were hoping to get it up this week, but that’s not going to happen” because of a crowded legislative schedule. It would seem that someone’s found an opening in the agenda.
If the bill is, in fact, taken up by the House before it goes on its summer recess at the end of next week, it will be under “suspension of the rules”. That limits debate and also prevents amendments, but requires a two-thirds majority for passage; the bill’s supporters are “reasonably confident” of getting that level of support, according to Space News. Back in 2008 a NASA authorization bill passed the House on a 409-15, while a 2005 bill passed on a 383-15 vote. The White House has not issued a formal statement of administration policy about the House bill as of early Thursday morning.