U.S. Rep. Howard Berman, the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, welcomed legislation introduced by Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) that will help create new jobs in the San Fernando Valley while safeguarding U.S. national security interests.
Berman introduced satellite export reform legislation in the House with U.S. Rep. Don Manzullo (R-IL) on November 1, 2011. The Bennet bill is the companion to that legislation.
"We are long overdue to modernize our export control policies, and ensure American innovators and workers can fully compete with foreign competitors," said U.S. Rep. Howard Berman (D-Valley Village). "Sen. Bennet's legislation is another key step in our effort to boost American space manufacturers, their employees, and the communities they support."
Last week, Berman co-sponsored an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that was based on his legislation. The amendment, which passed the House on voice vote with a package of other amendments, allows the President to transfer commercial satellites and related component from the U.S. Munitions List back to the dual-use Commerce Control List, making their export to friends and allies easier. It would also prohibit outright any such exports to China, Iran, North Korea, Syria, Sudan, or Cuba, the countries that pose the biggest risks to our national security. This latter provision is actually tougher than current law, which allows such exports.
The amendment would remove this unproductive shackle on U.S. satellite and related manufacturers, many of which are located in Southern California, while also promoting U.S. national security. The U.S. space industrial base will again be able to compete successfully and drive innovation in this critical high-technology area, supporting and producing thousands of high-paying U.S. engineering and other jobs in the San Fernando Valley and across Los Angeles.