The Senate may attempt to pass today a version of a commercial launch indemnification bill that the House has already passed, but with a longer time period. According to discussion at working group meetings this morning of the FAA’s Commercial Space Transportation Committee, or COMSTAC (which are taking place as scheduled despite inclement weather that shut down federal government offices in the DC area), the Senate will attempt to “hotline”, or passed via unanimous consent, the bill the House passed last week, but amended to extend indemnification for three years instead of one, as the House bill states. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) introduced a bill last month, S. 1753, that provided a three-year extension; that bill now has 10 co-sponsors, but an effort to pass it by unanimous consent before the Thanksgiving break didn’t work.
If the Senate does pass the House bill with an amended extension period, it would have to go back to the House for approval again. The House plans to adjourn at the end of this week until after January 1, thus it would have to take up the bill again this week. If that doesn’t work, the Senate would likely have to accept a one-year extension and seek a longer extension next year.