Washington, DC – Congressman Frank Lucas (OK-03), Ranking Member of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, today criticized 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,” Lucas said. “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. What’s more, by stripping this NASA bill and replacing 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.”
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.
Watch Lucas’ Floor Speech here.