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Rohrabacher Discusses NASA’s Commercial Crew program during FY2013 Floor Debate

May 9, 2012
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Washington, May 9 - Mr. Rohrabacher: I rise today to engage in a colloquy on NASA's Commercial Crew program. The chairman has shown great leadership on space and science issues. He and I have often worked together on issues of shared interest, and he is a great friend.

The report of this bill contains some strong language about NASA's Commercial Crew program, and I admittedly have some concerns about that language. I believe it makes a flawed comparison between commercial crew program partners and the energy firm Solyndra. In addition, it requires an immediate downselect to a single program partner, which I do not believe is the best path forward.

That being said, I do understand and agree with many of the Chairman's concerns that I know were underlying this language. For example, NASA has not shared a clear, comprehensive management plan for the program, despite repeated requests. Instead they have made inconsistent and confusing statements about the program's purpose, timeline, design, costs and procurement methods.

Although the Committee has defined one possible management approach in response to these concerns, I hope that we will be able to discuss some alternative approaches that both address the management problems within NASA and allow the achievement of the agreed-upon goals of the program. With that in mind, I am willing to work with NASA to help come up with a new plan that will do just that, and I would be pleased to work with the Chairman on these issues going forward.

At this time, I yield to my good friend, the gentleman from Virginia, the Chairman of the CJS Subcommittee.

Chairman Wolf: I thank the gentleman for yielding and for outlining the concerns that I and others have about this program.

I believe that, despite our outward differences of opinion, we share a common goal of providing reliable domestic access to the Space Station in the fastest and most cost effective manner.

I know the gentleman is the staunchest supporter of commercial spaceflight in the Congress, and if the gentleman believes that he can get NASA to come up with a clearer and more reasonable plan for this program, I wish him luck and look forward to discussing the results as we move forward through the process. I yield back the balance of my time.

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