Miller, Carbajal Give Sneak Peek of Legislative Plans

Lawmakers previewed two legislative proposals in the works during a panel discussion at Payload’s Space Capitol event in DC on Tuesday night. 

NDAA preview: Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-CA) will introduce an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act to help federal launch ranges keep up with the rapidly growing launch cadence in Florida and California. 

The “Spaceports of the Future” amendment would make changes at Patrick Space Force Base and Vandenberg Space Force Base to make the facilities “basically function like airports so we could have more companies participate with launch,” Carbajal said. In addition, the amendment would require companies to pay a fee for the wear and tear on DoD launch infrastructure “to give the taxpayers assurance that this is a partnership,” he said.

The House Armed Services Committee announced this week that it will host its marathon markup of the bill on June 21. The Senate Armed Services Committee will begin its closed-door consideration of the legislation on the same day.

Talent acquisition: Rep. Max Miller (R-OH) is drafting a bill to implement a talent sharing program between the private sector and NASA, similar to an existing program used by the Defense Department. The personnel exchange program, Miller said, would help public and private entities get more familiar and more comfortable with each other. 

“There are a lot of great minds within our country. And I believe that a lot of the great minds are in the private sector as well as the public sector,” he said. “It’s really meshing those together to create that team cohesion.” 

Miller says he plans to introduce the bill “within a couple of months,” and hopes to have bipartisan support.

The last word: Both lawmakers offered some advice to new space players, including urging companies to contact their members of Congress for help navigating the procurement process and working with government agencies. And if you’re struggling to get a response? “If they’re not taking your calls and working with you, fire their ass,” Carbajal said.