SAS Bulletin - Alert Followup Monday 9/27/10

Today saw one extremely promising development:  Representative Bart Gordon, Chairman of the House Science Committee and leading spokesman for the HR.5781 House version NASA Authorization, has conceded that the only practical way of "..providing certainty, stability, and clarity to the NASA workforce and larger space community..." is to allow the Senate NASA Authorization, S.3729, to come up for a vote in the House this week.  In this morning's House Science committee press release at, he says he "anticipate(s) that the House will consider the Senate version of the NASA reauthorization on Wednesday."

But the Senate version still needs to win a 2/3rds House vote, on the near-certain assumption it will only be considered under “suspension of the rules” fast-track procedures.  That 2/3rds vote is no sure thing.  We need one last big push on this.

What To Do

We ask you all to contact your Representatives one more time.  Go to for their name (if you still need to) then call their DC office via the US Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121, by Tuesday night if possible and Wednesday morning at latest.  Tell the person you end up talking to (most likely a staffer or a staffer's voicemail) the following:  Ask that your Representative vote for the Senate NASA Authorization (S.3729) when it comes up in the House.  If asked why, tell them one or more of the following: It's a good compromise NASA policy, it's the only practical way to give NASA clear and timely Congressional direction this year, it's the only practical way to avoid more months of expensive and damaging drift at the agency and/or more months of massive uncertainty for the workers and organizations involved.

The Future

The very last sentence of Gordon’s Science Committee press release is “I will continue to advocate to the Appropriators for the provisions in the Compromise language.”  (By "Compromise" here he means the most recent House bill.)  Chairman Gordon is conceding this battle, but not the war.  Mind, he won't be around much longer as Chairman of the Science Committee, since he's retiring from the Congress after this year.  But Bart Gordon is just one member of an economic/political bloc that, on evidence of how hard this summer's fight has been, retains considerable influence. Call it the “NASA Old Guard”, for lack of a better term... The Old Guard has suffered a setback, but it’s unlikely to fade away anytime soon.  One reason we've considered the subtler differences between the Senate and House version NASA Authorizations so critical is that they will set much of the future framework for this fight.

But yes, it does look very much like we’re on the verge of winning an important victory this week.  To the entire wide-ranging coalition we've been working with on this, to everyone who's read our releases and decided it's important enough to help - Yaaaaayyy, team!  But in the words of the immortal Yogi Berra, it ain’t over till it’s over.  Specifically, if and only if S.3729 gets that 2/3rds vote, we’ve won a far more favorable battlefield for the next round of the fight over the future of NASA, whenever it comes. (Most likely not till after the November elections, and possibly not till next year - we'll keep you posted on developments.)  Meanwhile, this week - one last big push!

 (Our original Thursday 9/23 Alert is available at, and our Friday 9/24 Followup Bulletin at  Permalink to this Bulletin is at

thanks for your time

Henry Vanderbilt
for Space Access Society
"Reach low orbit and you're halfway to anywhere in the Solar System"
- Robert A Heinlein, as related by G Harry Stine