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What's Happening in Space Policy June 4-10, 2017

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 04-Jun-2017
Updated: 06-Jun-2017 03:28 PM

Here is our list of space policy events for the week of June 4-10, 2017 and any insight we can offer about them.  The House and Senate will be in session this week.

During the Week

Better late than never?  The Trump Administration finally sent its FY2018 budget proposal to Congress on May 23.  As they say, the President proposes and Congress disposes.  This week Congress gets about its job in earnest with many, many hearings on various aspects of the budget request.  It is just a request. Only Congress decides how to spend the nation's money.   The reaction to the request in the halls of Congress is much like what was heard during the Obama Administration -- dead on arrival.  Still, they had to wait until the request was in hand to get busy coming up with their own plan.  Describing how difficult that's going to be would make this missive far too long, especially since the budget debate may well get entangled in the debate over increasing the debt limit.  Even though Republicans control the House, Senate, and White House, there are many intraparty divisions, never mind trying to reach a deal that at least some Democrats can support.

For this week, the focus is on information gathering for both appropriations and authorizations (not sure of the difference -- see our What's a Markup? Fact Sheet).   From a space policy perspective, the hearings to watch are NASA budget (two on Thursday -- the House SS&T space subcommittee in the morning; House Appropriations CJS subcommittee in the afternoon), FAA reauthorization, including FAA Office of Commercial Space Transportation (Wednesday, Senate Commerce Committee; Thursday, House T&I Committee), Air Force posture hearing (Tuesday, Senate Armed Services); and Department of Commerce budget, which includes NOAA (Thursday, Senate Appropriations CJS subcommittee).

The House SS&T Committee also has scheduled a markup of the American Space Commerce Free Enterprise Act of 2017 on Thursday at 1:30 pm ET.  A draft bill has been circulating for several weeks. Although it has not been formally introduced yet, the committee posted the current draft text that the committee will consider that day.

Off the Hill this week, the annual GEOINT conference begins today in San Antonio and runs through Wednesday.  The theme this year is Advancing Capabilities to Meet Emerging Threats.

The American Bar Association is holding its annual space law symposium in Washington, DC (note the location changed and is now at the University Club) on Thursday.   It's got a GREAT line up of speakers.  Most unfortunately, it turns out to be competing with four hearings and one markup.  Not to mention a Space Transportation Association luncheon with Bob Cabana, former astronaut and Director of Kennedy Space Center.

Speaking of astronauts, amidst all this NASA will announce the members of its new astronaut class at Johnson Space Center on Wednesday.  Vice President Mike Pence will be in attendance.  He said in March during the signing ceremony for the 2017 NASA Transition Authorization Act that President Trump will reestablish the National Space Council and he (Pence) will lead it.  Everyone has been waiting for further news since then - perhaps he'll have more to say on Wednesday.

Lots of other really interesting things going on in D.C. and the rest of the world as well including Beijing (GLEX 2017); Vienna, Austria (UNCOPUOS); and Kerkrade, The Netherlands (Overview Symposium).

The list of everything we know about as of Sunday morning is shown below.  Check back throughout the week to see others that we learn about later and add to our Events of Interest list.

Sunday, June 4 (continued from June 3)

Sunday-Wednesday, June 4-7

Monday, June 5

Tuesday, June 6

Tuesday-Thursday, June 6-8

Wednesday, June 7

Wednesday, June 7 - Friday, June 16

Thursday, June 8

Friday, June 9

  • The Space Mission Force (AFA Mitchell Institute), Capitol Hill Club, 300 1st St., SE, Washington, DC, 8:00 am ET  pre-registration REQUIRED

Friday-Saturday, June 9-10


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