AmericaSpace Note: The passage of S. 3729 tonight marks the end of this drama and the beginning of another. The Senate will be back in session on November 12th and the House on November 15th. At that point, the Appropriations Committee of each chamber will begin to craft how fundings is apportioned to NASA. It is here that the ills of S. 3729 spoken of at length during the House floor debate will be adjusted. And should the elections on November 2nd have changed the balance of power, that too will come into play. In other words…the fat lady hasn’t even warmed-up.
The House of Representatives just approved by recorded vote the Senate’s version of the 2010 NASA Authorization Act, S. 3729.
With this vote, we can declare that the Obama Administration’s attempt to take NASA out of human space flight has failed. And that is cause for celebration by all who want to see our nation maintain a strong and vibrant national program.
The common theme of the House floor debate on S. 3729 was that while all did not like the Senate Bill, its failings could be addressed by the House Appropriations Committee, as emphasized twice by Rep. Culberson, a member of the full House Appropriations Committee. It was clear that many were not comfortable turning over our nation’s ability to reach low-earth orbit to commercial providers who have never launched astronauts. Or of supporting these companies should they get into the sort of trouble GM and Chrysler.
While the sense of Congress has now been expressed, the fight over the details of our nation’s human space flight program is not done. And that fight will be just as, if not more, vigorous as the one we’ve just witnessed.
What will be interesting is the reaction by NASA’s leadership. Will they both continue to use the Anti-Deficiency Act as a means of strangling Constellation, large parts of which make up the Bill approved by both houses of Congress? Or will NASA’s leadership recognize that the President’s proposal has failed, that Congress has spoken, that it is time to make sure that our human space flight infrastructure and investments are not laid to waste.