If the House Science and Technology Committee thought that its revised version of the NASA authorization bill, with additional funding for commercial crew development, would win support from commercialization advocates, well, not exactly. “Although they’ve done their best to appear to be compromising, the fine text makes it clear that
they want to continue Constellation,” Space Frontier Foundation executive director Will Watson said in a statement by the organization. The Foundation complains about “24 separate restrictions” on commercial crew in the revised bill (although not enumerating them) as well as the bill’s combination of commercial cargo and crew funding into one account. The Foundation also criticizes language elsewhere in the bill that appears to leave the door open for continued development of the Ares 1. They ask that the House instead vote on the Senate bill.
Similar complaints come from the Space Access Society in a separate statement, which expresses concerns about “a whole tangle of reviews, reports, certifications, and other requirements” for commercial crew development as well as “continued development of something a lot like Ares/Orion”. The organization is also calling on the House to accept the version approved by the Senate. “We think it’s time to settle on the Senate compromise, resolve this matter, and move forward.”
Although both organizations sent out alerts warning the House would vote on this compromise version as soon as Friday, it appears that no vote is imminent. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, in a statement late Thursday, said there would be no votes on Friday, and that the House would next meet this coming Wednesday, September 29. The statement indicated that the priority for the House then would be to pass a continuing resolution before the fiscal year ends Thursday; Hoyer said he hoped the House could vote on it today but negotiations with the Senate on the CR are not complete.