House to vote on launch indemnification extension today

The House of Representatives will vote today on a bill that provides a two-year extension to the existing commercial launch indemnification system. HR 6586 was introduced last Friday by Rep. Steven Palazzo (R-MS), chairman of the space subcommittee of the House Science Committee, with six co-sponsors, including full committee chairman Rep. Ralph Hall (R-TX) and the three men seeking to succeed him: Reps. Dana Rohrbacher (R-CA), James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), and Lamar Smith (R-TX). The bill is one of several the House will consider later today under suspension of the rules, an expedited process for non-controversial legislation.

The bill is a “clean” extension of the indemnification regime: the text of the legislation does nothing more than extend the period indemnification is in place from the end of 2012 to the end of 2014. Some past bills have included additional provisions, typically studies about the utility of the indemnification regime, which protects commercial launch operators from third-party damage claims in excess of “maximum probable loss” companies must insure against. The Senate has yet to act on an indemnification extension; last month, a House staffer warned that the Senate may seek to incorporate additional, unspecified provisions to an extension.

5 comments to House to vote on launch indemnification extension today

  • Googaw

    It’s very unfortunate that it is only two years. Businesses in this industry typically have longer time horizons than that.

    • Matt McClanahan

      Perhaps, but if the industry performs well for those two years, extending it again afterwards should become an even easier decision. On the other hand, it gives Congress another opportunity to hang unrelated provisions on the bill in two years time and sabotage the extension.

    • Googaw

      What do you mean by “performs well”?

      • E.P. Grondine

        While I wish all the players the best of luck,

        My guess is Matt means “doesn’t kill any passengers”.

        There will probably have to be some kind of really specific language to keep the trial lawyers from hooking up with dead millionaires’ trophy wives and mistresses in the case of a “flight anomaly”.

        In other news, I read the Senate is pulling in Petraeus to testify. The hearing will be held in the Strom Thurmond Room.

        Transportation will be provided by W. Mills’ Limousine Services.

        You know, they say don’t have a hearing unless you know what the testimony will be. This story has already had some major surprises, and there will be more coming.

        Jeff, who is up on the Democratic side of the Space Committee?

        • Jeff Foust

          who is up on the Democratic side of the Space Committee?

          If you’re referring to the space and aeronautics subcommittee of the House Science Committee, subcommittee chairmanships will be announced in January after the new Congress convenes. Rep. Costello is the current ranking member of that subcommittee but is retiring. If I had to guess his successor, assuming no major changes in committee assignments, it would be Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD).

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