House Approves Small Boost for FAA Space Office – UPDATE

House Approves Small Boost for FAA Space Office – UPDATE

UPDATE, June 10, 2015:  The House passed the T-HUD bill on June 9, with this modest increase included.  The bill passed by a narrow margin, 216-210.

ORIGINAL STORY, June 4, 2015: During floor debate on the FY2016 Transportation-Housing and Urban Development (T-HUD) appropriations bill, the House adopted an amendment to add a small amount of money for the FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation (AST).

The House Appropriations Committee held AST to its FY2015 funding level of $16.605 million.  The Obama Administration is requesting an increase of $1.5 million, to $18.115 million, to pay for additional staff needed to cope with increasing demand for launch licenses.  

The amendment, sponsored by Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK), adds $250,000.  That is only one-sixth of what the Administration requested and a very small amount of money in Washington terms, but every dollar counts.  Reps. Bill Posey (R-FL) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) were co-sponsors.   Amendments that seek to add money must be offset by a comparable reduction elsewhere in the bill.  The amendment cuts FAA’s finance and management activities by $250,000.  The amendment was adopted by voice vote yesterday (June 3).

Commercial Spaceflight Federation President Eric Stallmer praised passage of the amendment and thanked Bridenstine, Posey and Rohrabacher for their leadership and support of the commercial space industry.  “As many commercial companies begin their flight test phase, the number of applications will continue to grow, highlighting the importance of providing the necessary resources for the agency to fulfill its critical responsibilities and continue to encourage growth of the burgeoning sector.”

The House began consideration of the T-HUD appropriations bill (H.R. 2577) yesterday after passing the Commerce-Justice-Science (CJS) bill (H.R. 2578) that includes NASA and NOAA.  It resumed consideration of T-HUD today, but adjourned before finishing it.  Debate will continue next week.

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