Friday, September 17, 2010

Kosmas hoping for House shift on NASA bill

Congresswoman Suzanne Kosmas, whose district includes Kennedy Space Center, hopes the U.S. House will vote soon on a NASA authorization bill that looks more like the Senate's.

"We are in negotiations between the Senate and the House, very aggressively seeking resolution to overcome the differences," Kosmas, D-New Smyrna Beach, said today. "The negotiations are happening as we speak. We are hoping that we will have a move-forward plan by the middle of next week and that we will be able to cast a vote on it."

Efforts to pass a three-year reauthorization that could avoid a continuing resolution budget and finally give NASA a new direction have stalled in recent weeks.

Senate authorizers and appropriators passed a bill that supports commercial crew taxis instead of a NASA crew launcher and accelerates development of a heavy-lift rocket.

A House bill would essentially continue the Constellation program and offer little commercial support. Supporters so far have held their ground, despite requests for amendments from members including Kosmas.

"We know that the Senate has already passed a piece of legislation that has gained bipartisan support both in the authorization and in the appropriations process, so our efforts will be -- as they have been in my attempts to amend the House bill -- that we can move forward with an acceptable piece of legislation that wouldn't require renegotiating," she said.

NASA's 2011 fiscal year begins Oct. 1. If no budget is passed by then, current programs and spending levels would continue, likely until after mid-term elections.

Kosmas today visited the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex to promote a loan program she said would help small businesses tap some of the $35 million in grants from a federal task force established to spur economic growth as the shuttle program nears retirement.

No comments: