Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Senate keeps aeronautics research within NASA.

WASHINGTON — The Senate kept aeronautics research within NASA in an overwhelming vote today, rather than potentially shifting that responsibility to other agencies.

The Senate is debating a policy bill for the Federal Aviation Administration that included a provision to establish an advisory committee to consider transferring civil aeronautics research and development from NASA to the FAA.

But Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., proposed an amendment to strip out that language, calling it obsolete after unanimous Senate approval of the NASA policy bill in September.

The Senate voted 96-1 to adopt the Nelson amendment and drop the provision.

"We want to get rid of that red tape," Nelson said of the provision. "Aeronautics research is a big part of the NASA bill."

The proposal was not contentious. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas, the top Republican on the committee that oversees NASA, said lawmakers agreed last year to drop the provision and she urged approval of Nelson's amendment.

"The sole purpose is to take away aeronautics from NASA," said Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio. "That is simply unacceptable. It belies the very purpose of NASA in our nation's space and aeronautics mission."

-Bart Jansen

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