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Science Democrats Introduce NASA Reauthorization Act of 2005

Press Release From: Committee on Science, Space, and Technology Democratic Caucus
Posted: Wednesday, July 13, 2005

(Washington, DC) Tuesday evening, House Science Committee Ranking Member Rep. Bart Gordon (D-TN) and the entire Democratic Caucus of the Committee introduced The NASA Reauthorization Act of 2005 (H.R. 3250) - their alternative to H.R. 3070, NASA Reauthorization legislation introduced by Science Committee Republicans.

The multi-year Democratic alternative lays out clear and directed priorities for the space agency. It provides the resources needed to move forward on the Moon-Mars mission without sacrificing other critical science and technology responsibilities of NASA.

"Our bill recognizes that NASA has been, is and should continue to be a multi-mission agency with significant research and development activities in science, aeronautics and human space flight," stated Ranking Member Gordon upon introduction.

At the Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee markup two weeks ago, nearly all Subcommittee Democrats withheld their support for H.R. 3070, citing significant concerns with the bill. Democratic Members indicated they would work toward a more substantial NASA Authorization bill that realistically addressed the challenges facing the agency in the coming years.

The bill introduced Tuesday makes it clear that Committee Democrats support the goal of making exploration beyond low Earth orbit the long-term objective of NASA's human space flight program. Equally important, the Democratic alternative recognizes the need to ensure that the productive balance existing between NASA's major program areas is maintained.

"NASA science and research contributes to improved weather forecasting methods, safe and more effective air transportation and a better understanding of how to preserve our environment. These vital near-term benefits must not be sacrificed," added Rep. Mark Udall (D-CO), bill cosponsor and Ranking Member of the Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee.

"This alternative bill gives the clear Congressional direction to NASA with respect to priorities and balance," continued Rep. Gordon. "At the same time, it is intended to be flexible enough to accommodate changing circumstances and emergencies. Our alternative is credible, practical and conferenceable."

The multi-year Democratic alternative is similar in structure to bipartisan legislation (S. 1281) already passed by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.

Attached here is a summary of the NASA Authorization Act of 2005 provisions as described in Ranking Member Gordon's introductory statement.

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The entire text of H.R. 3250 can be found on the Science Committee Democratic website at: http://www.house.gov/science_democrats/releases/gordon_hr3250_text.pdf

Committee Democrats are hopeful compromise legislation can be reached and continue to work with Republican counterparts to develop a unified, bipartisan NASA Authorization bill for consideration by the full House Science Committee on Thursday.

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