With the House considering a draft authorization bill that contains provisions the space agency and the White House are unlikely to agree with, NASA is offering some helpful suggestions to those working on a Senate version of such legislation. Space News reports NASA provided Senate staffers with a 35-page “legislative proposal” that features a number of provisions the agency is hoping the Senate will include in its bill, expected to be introduced later this month.
None of the items in that proposal highlighted in the report is particularly major or surprising. One would put NASA on equal footing with the Defense Department in its ability to accept funds from commercial providers to pay for spaceport infrastructure maintenance and upgrades; the fiscal year 2013 defense authorization bill included similar language for the Defense Department, a provision backed by Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL), whose district includes Cape Canaveral. Other provisions in the NASA proposal would treat as confidential technical details of spaceflight mishap investigations and would make NASA contractors more responsible in ensuring they do not use counterfeit parts.
Whether there will be an authorization bill signed into law, though, is another issue. If the Senate version is significantly different than the draft discussed at last month’s House Science Committee hearing—and Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) suggested recently it would be quite different, at least in terms of authorized funding levels—then reconciling the two may be impossible.