H.R. 3547: Space Launch Liability Indemnification Extension Act

H.R. 3547

Space Launch Liability Indemnification Extension Act

Date
December 2, 2013 (113th Congress, 1st Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

On Monday, December 2, 2013, the House will consider H.R. 3547, the Space Launch Liability Indemnification Extension Act, under a suspension of the rules.  The bill was introduced on November 20, 2013 by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) and referred to the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.

Bill Summary

H.R. 3547 would extend through December 31, 2014, the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) authority to pay third-party claims in excess of a commercial space launcher’s required insurance coverage in the extremely small chance of an accident with a space launch that harms the populous or property.  Since passage in 1988, the provision for the liability risk-sharing regime has been extended by Congress in 1999, 2000, 2004, 2009, and 2012. To date no federal payments have been required.

Background

This legislation would extend “a commercial risk-sharing and liability regime that was established by Congress in 1988 with the passage of the Commercial Space Launch Act Amendments.”[1]  A 2012 GAO report found that, “the United States provides less commercial space launch indemnification for third party losses than China, France, and Russia.”[2]  The goal of liability indemnification is to “provide a competitive environment for the U.S. commercial space launch industry, by providing, among other things, government indemnity while still minimizing the cost to taxpayers.”[3]  



[2] United States Government Accountability Office, Commercial Space Launches: FAA Should Update How it Assesses Federal Liability Risk (July, 2012). http://www.gao.gov/assets/600/593106.pdf

[3] Id. at 1. 

Cost

A formal CBO score is currently unavailable.  Preliminary CBO estimates project this legislation would have no impact on direct spending or revenues.

Additional Information

For questions or further information contact the GOP Conference at 5-5107.