THE HOUSE I BLOCKS OF THE ROAD funding for Jeff Bezos’ space exploration company Blue Origin that was approved last week under the Senate’s bipartisan competition law in China. Members of both sides have made it clear that the $ 10 billion authorization, pushed by Democratic Washington Senator Maria Cantwell, for a second lunar lander contract (Elon Musk’s SpaceX won the first contract earlier this year, while Blue Origin was one of two finalists) was a non-starter for the House’s version of science and innovation legislation.

Blue Origin filed a complaint with the Government Accountability Office after SpaceX won the contract, urging the government to reassess and award a second contract. Senate progressives like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have urged their colleagues in the House to scrap the measure.

House Science Committee Chairman Eddie Bernice Johnson and Senior Republican Frank Lucas this week introduced a bill that takes a very different approach to U.S.-China competition and technological innovation, mainly by spending much less, and it does not include additional authorization for the lunar lander. funds. Johnson has been skeptical of NASA’s goal of returning to the moon by 2024. NASA chief Bill Nelson supports the Senate measure, saying it “puts us on track to perform many moon landings during this decade “.

Beyond the expense and wisdom of pursuing another moon landing, opponents of the House measure are targeting its likely beneficiary: Bezos, whose main company, Amazon, is in the House’s antitrust sights. Rep. Ken Buck, the top Republican on the Judicial Chamber’s antitrust subcommittee, categorically said “no” to whether he would consider funding for Blue Origin in China’s competition law. Senior Republican on the Foreign Affairs Committee, Representative Michael McCaul, said he expected the legislation to “change a lot” from what the Senate passed and prioritize funding of semiconductor production versus space exploration.

Representative Pramila Jayapal, whose Seattle district is full of Amazon employees, told the Wall Street Journal that she didn’t think Blue Origin needed a “document.” “If Jeff Bezos wants to explore space, that’s fine, but I don’t think he needs federal dollars.” Blue Origin did not respond to requests for comment.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.