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Status of Space-Related Legislation As 112th Congress Ends

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 03-Jan-2013
Updated: 03-Jan-2013 11:25 AM

With little fanfare, the 112th Congress ends this morning, January 3, 2013.  The 113th Congress begins at noon.   Congress dealt with a number of space-related bills in the last days of the 112th.   Here's how it all turned out as of 11:00 am ET today. 

  • American Taxpayer Relief Act (H.R. 8).   Passed. Signed by the President today.   Among other things, delays automatic across-the-board spending cuts -- the sequester -- for two months.
  • FY2013 National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 4310).  Passed.  Signed by the President today.   Among other things, eases export controls on satellites.
  • FY2013 Intelligence Authorization Act (S. 3454).  Passed.  Not yet presented to President for signature per Thomas and it is not on the White House pending legislation list.   The unclassified text does not directly address satellite programs conducted by the intelligence community, but the classified annex may.
  • Space Exploration Sustainability Act (H.R. 6586).  Passed.  Not yet presented to President for signature per Thomas and it is not on the White House pending legislation list.   Extends launch liability indemnification for one year, gives NASA relief from some provisions of the Iran, North Korea, Syria Nonproliferation Act (INKSNA), expresses the sense of Congress that NASA not take money from SLS/Orion to pay for commercial crew and vice versa.
  • Renaming Dryden Flight Research Center after Neil Armstrong (H.R. 6612). Passed House, but not Senate.
  • Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act  for relief of Hurricane Sandy victims (H.R. 1).   Passed Senate, but not House.   House reportedly will take up a new bill tomorrow (Friday) funding $9 billion of the $60 billion passed by the Senate, with a subsequent bill to be taken up on January 15 for the remaining $51 billion.  The $9 billion is for the National Flood Insurance Program, which is about to run out of money.  (Of the $60 billion passed by the Senate, $15 million is for NASA, about $500 millon for NOAA).
  • Condemning North Korea's Missile Launch (H. Con. Res. 145).  Passed House, but not Senate.

Any legislation that does not pass both the House and Senate in final form by the end of a Congress dies with that Congress.   New bills need to be introduced in the new Congress if the sponsors want to pursue the subject.

For a more comprehensive list of space-related legislation considered by the 112th Congress, see our Legislative Checklist:  Major Space-Related Legislation in the 112th Congress fact sheet, freshly updated today.


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