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Public Statements

Space Launch Liability Provisions Extension

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. ROHRABACHER. Mr. Speaker, first and foremost, I would like to thank Chairman Hall for the great leadership that he's provided to our committee, and also Mr. Costello, who will be voluntarily leaving this body, and he has done such a fine job. Both of these gentlemen deserve accolades for the wonderful job they've done for America's science and space programs, as well as for our country as a whole. So, thank you both very much.

I rise in support of H.R. 6586. It extends the commonsense limitations on liability exposure for commercial space launches.

A few years ago when I was the chairman of the Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee, the FAA was directed to provide an ongoing analysis of the rationale for and potential unintended consequences of this indemnification provision.

According to the analysis, the two options before us then were to extend this liability provision, which has never cost the American taxpayer a dime, or option number two--though unintended--would be to give a competitive advantage to China and other foreign launch providers. This, of course, is the same choice that we are making today. If we give foreign rocket companies such an advantage, then we are costing American jobs while undermining both our economy and our national security.

Back in 2004, I authored the current regulatory regime for human spaceflight, which has worked well beyond our expectations.

Recently, in cooperation with our majority whip, Mr. McCarthy, and my friends on both sides of the aisle, we extended that regime as the Science Committee's part of the recent FAA reauthorization bill. It would be very tempting to try to revisit that regulatory issue or some other provisions with this legislation.

So, I would like to thank Chairman Palazzo for offering a bill that asks only the critical question before us: do we extend launch indemnification, or do we hand the launch industry completely over to foreign competitors?

The choice is clear. The answer is clear. America must remain the preeminent space-going Nation, which means we need to pass H.R. 6586, and I ask my colleagues to join me in supporting this legislation.


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