Republican Lawmakers Criticize NASA's Lack of Compliance with Law

Republican Lawmakers Criticize NASA's Lack of Compliance with Law

Seven Republican House members sent a letter to NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden yesterday criticizing the agency for not complying with the 2010 NASA Authorization Act.

“We … strongly request that you stop studying and re-studying NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) … and report to Congress on NASA’s final plan for SLS,” they wrote. Signing the letter were Representatives Pete Olson (R-TX), John Culberson (R-TX), Rob Bishop(R-UT), Mo Brooks (R-AL), Lamar Smith (R-TX), Bill Posey (R-FL), and Sandy Adams (R-FL).

Members of both parties have complained over the past several months that NASA is moving too slowly on choosing a design for the congressionally-mandated SLS. The authorization act was a compromise between the Obama Administration’s preference for relying on the commercial sector to develop a new crew transportation system for access to low Earth orbit (LEO) and congressional determination to have the government build a larger (“heavy lift”) vehicle that enables human exploration beyond LEO. The law directs NASA to do both and to expeditiously move out on building the heavy lift vehicle — the SLS. Congress required NASA to submit a report on its plans within 90 days of the law’s enactment, but the report that was submitted in January was only an interim report. Congress has been waiting for the final report and is becoming impatient. Four key Senators — two Democrats and two Republicans — wrote their own letter to Bolden last month.

The seven House members left no doubt about their views on NASA’s delay. The current situation is “irresponsible, objectionable, and incompliant with the law,” they wrote.

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