House science committee Republicans angered a NASA bill was hijacked by Dems
House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Ranking Member Frank Lucas was joined by Space & Aeronautics Subcommittee Ranking Member Brian Babin and Rep. Young Kim in criticizing House Democratic leadership for stripping bipartisan NASA policy from H.R. 5746 and replacing it with legislation to attempt to seize control of elections from states.
“The majority has taken a practical, bipartisan bill and gutted it, inserting 735 pages of unrelated legislation and forcing the House to vote on it barely 12 hours after the text was released,” said Lucas.
“Democratic leadership not only withheld the text of this bill, but they deliberately kept even the subject a secret until the last possible moment. Good policy doesn’t require secrecy and schemes. This is no way to govern.”
Rep. Lucas said when Democrats stripped the NASA bill and replaced it with an attempt to impose federal control of elections, “they have killed our only vehicle to extend NASA’s authority to lease out underutilized property and save taxpayer money.”
“I am outraged because the Democrats have made a mockery of bipartisan collaboration for cheap political gain,” said Babin. “Now, in the dark of night, this bill has been hijacked and mutilated to become the latest iteration of the Democrats’ federal takeover of our election system – a wolf in sheep’s clothing.”
“The NASA Enhanced Use Leasing Extension Act was a noncontroversial bill to support the public and private sectors of our space industry,” Kim said. “Senate Democrats and Speaker Pelosi hijacked a bipartisan, good-faith effort to support space innovation to move forward with their partisan agenda to take control of elections from state and local officials and give it to Washington politicians.”
H.R. 5746, the NASA Enhanced Use Leasing Act, was originally a bipartisan bill to extend NASA’s authority to lease idle or underutilized property to the private sector, state and local governments, and academic institutions. The money NASA receives in return can then be used to offset spending for facilities maintenance and property improvements.
Under this program, the commercial space industry benefits from access to NASA facilities, and taxpayers benefit from the revenue these leases bring in to offset NASA’s costs. In 2022, NASA expects to collect $14 million in net revenue from enhanced use leases. The House passed a clean ten-year extension of the bill in December. The program expired at the end of 2021 and without a legislative extension, NASA’s ability to enter new leases will be delayed.
The voting bill was eventually passed on a vote of 220-203 with every member of the Oklahoma congressional delegation voting against it.