House Provision to Make NASA Administrator Term Appointment Deleted

House Provision to Make NASA Administrator Term Appointment Deleted

A Republican provision in the 2013 NASA authorization bill to make the position of NASA Administrator a 6-year term appointment was removed by a close vote during committee markup today.

Democrats offered 35 amendments during markup of the 2013 NASA authorization bill (H.R. 2687) and few were adopted, but one that made it through deleted the term appointment provision.   Offered by Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), the top Democrat on the committee, amendment 007 strikes Sec. 711, lines 3 through 19 on page 81 of the bill.  It was approved by a vote of 20-19.   It is the only amendment approved by recorded vote.  Several others were adopted by voice vote, but most of the amendments were defeated on party lines.  Three Republicans (Rohrabacher, Sensenbrenner and Stockman) joined all 17 of the Democrats present in voting to adopt the amendment.

Sec. 711 not only would have made the NASA Administrator a term appointment, but limited to 45 days the period of time that the Deputy Administrator could serve as Acting Administrator.  After that time, the Associate Administrator would become Acting Administrator.   Like the Administrator (currently Charlie Bolden), the Deputy Administrator (currently Lori Garver) is a political appointee.   The Associate Administrator (currently Robert Lightfoot) is the top civil servant in the agency.

The ideas of appointing the NASA Administrator for a fixed term and limiting how long the Deputy Administrator may serve in an acting capacity are part of the Space Leadership Preservation Act introduced by Reps. John Culberson (R-TX), Frank Wolf (R-VA) and others last year and again this year (H.R. 823).   They argue that a term appointment for the NASA Administrator would help depoliticize the agency.

User Comments has the right (but not the obligation) to monitor the comments and to remove any materials it deems inappropriate.  We do not post comments that include links to other websites since we have no control over that content nor can we verify the security of such links.