CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
On Monday, June 9, 2014, the House will consider H.R. 4412, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2014, under a suspension of the rules. H.R. 4412 was introduced on April 7, 2014 by Rep. Steven Palazzo (R-MS) and Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) and referred to the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, which ordered the bill reported, as amended, by voice vote.
H.R. 4412 authorizes $17.6 billion in funding for the programs and activities of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), consistent with the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014. Included in this funding is:
This legislation reaffirms that the goal of the NASA human spaceflight program is for a human mission to Mars, and requires NASA to develop a roadmap to achieve that goal and to provide biennial updates on their progress. Furthermore, the bill continues to provide consistent policy guidance to NASA that build upon the 2005, 2008, and 2010 Authorization Acts. It also emphasizes the importance of completing regular scientific missions, and sets a goal of a scientific mission to Europa to be launched in 2021. Moreover, this legislation directs NASA and the National Academy of Sciences to develop an exploration strategy for planets outside of the solar system and establishes an aeronautics research program. This includes research efforts to integrate unmanned aerial systems into the national airspace as well as NextGen technology for air traffic management. H.R. 4412 also supports a space technology program and directs NASA to develop a plan to better position itself to have the necessary facilities and infrastructure to meet future requirements.
This legislation also directs the NASA administrator to: 1) utilize the International Space Station and commercial services for Science Mission Directorate and Space Technology Demonstration missions in low-Earth orbit; 2) enter into an arrangement with the National Academies for a review of the National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program; and 3) revise the NASA Supplement to the Federal Acquisition Regulation to address the detection and avoidance of counterfeit electronic parts. Overall, this legislation is intended to address NASA’s future priorities, while improving public accountability and transparency. The legislation would ensure the development of a domestic crew transportation capability that decreases our dependence on foreign access to space, and continues to develop our naiton’s ability to develop systems to explore deep space.
According to CBO, H.R. 4412 will authorize the appropriation of about $17.6 billion for 2014 for activities of NASA. CBO assumes that no further appropriations would be provided to NASA for fiscal year 2014 and therefore estimates that no additional discretionary costs would result from the enactment of H.R. 4412. An updated CBO score estimates that this legislation would have no significant impact on direct spending or revenues.
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