The Senate Commerce Committee has approved a bipartisan bill that would authorize $19.5 billion in fiscal year 2017 funds to help NASA sustain space investments that seek to support space exploration programs.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said in a statement released Wednesday the NASA Transition Authorization Act of 2016 would direct the space agency to continue development work on the Orion spacecraft and Space Launch System, support human exploration of Mars as well as extend the use of the International Space Station through 2028.
The proposed legislation would also authorize NASA to support medical diagnosis, monitoring and treatment programs for health conditions related to human space flight.
The bipartisan bill would direct the space agency to support low-Earth orbit commercialization efforts to facilitate the expansion of U.S. commerce into space.
“It is my hope that Congress will pass this into law and the president will sign it before the end of the year,” Cruz said.
Cruz introduced the bill with Sens. Bill Nelson (D-Florida), Marco Rubio (R-Florida), Gary Peters (D-Michigan), Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi), Tom Udall (D-New Mexico), John Thune (R-South Dakota) and Maria Cantwell (D-Washington).