WASHINGTON, DC - Today, the House approved the Conference Report for S. 1281, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Authorization Act by a unanimous voice vote. Rep. Ken Calvert (R-Corona) authored the House-version of the bill, H.R. 3070, and chairs the Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics on the House Science Committee and. The Senate is expected to approve the Conference Report shortly, marking the first time in five years Congress has completed a NASA authorization bill.
Rep. Calvert delivered the following statement on the House floor in support of the bill:
"Mr. Speaker, I want to thank Chairman Boehlert for his leadership and both Ranking Member Gordon and Ranking Member Udall for their leadership and support and commend the members of the Science Committee on both sides of the aisle for a job well done! I also want to thank Mr. DeLay for his guidance and assistance and all the staff for working so diligently and for long hours to assure that the NASA Authorization bill could be accomplished this year. This is the first time since the year 2000 that a NASA Authorization bill has been completed. The bill provides the Agency with the rules and tools they will need to succeed.
This is a critical time for the agency as it is going through a major transition. Our bill represents the first time that the President's Vision for Space Exploration has been fully endorsed by both Houses of Congress. When the President sends to Congress his budget for FY 2007, today's backing by the Congress can only help us to increase the support for our Nation's civil space program and for the Vision for Space Exploration. We also seek equivalent strategic plans for Aeronautics and Science.
NASA represents only 0 .7 % of the Federal budget and is an investment in our Nation's future. Even in this time of budget deficits, the United States cannot abandon NASA's research and technology, and its exploration programs - it is not in the American spirit to shy away from this investment in our global leadership.
The bill also authorizes for the first time, a competitive prize program at NASA, based on the very successful X-Prize. This program will allow NASA to award prizes for those technologies that are useful to NASA's mission. This prize program will encourage our best and brightest scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs to pursue technologies that NASA will need to pursue our Nation's dreams of exploration.
I am pleased that we are doing a two-year bill, through 2008, and we on the Science Committee look forward to providing oversight and authorization as appropriate. I want to urge my colleagues to vote Yea on this truly bi-partisan conference report. We owe it to the Administration, to our national space enterprise, and to the American people to pass this NASA Authorization bill this year."