By Lewis-Burke Associates LLC | April 14, 2017
On March 21, President Trump signed the bipartisan National Aeronautics and Space Administration Transition Authorization Act of 2017 (S. 442), which sets policy and authorizes funding for programs and missions at NASA.
Among other things, the law mandates that NASA craft a Human Exploration Roadmap identifying knowledge gaps and milestones for future deep-space exploration. Lewis-Burke Associates, the Society's representatives in Washington, D.C., worked with the Government Relations Committee to include language in the law that requires NASA to consider risks "identified through research outcomes under the NASA Human Research Program's Behavioral Health Element," in the development of this roadmap. The law puts HF/E in an advantageous position to be incorporated into NASA's plans for long-duration missions and should help to raise the profile of the Society and its members within the agency as well as in Congress.
The president's signature marked the end of a long road for the legislation. The bill was originally drafted, considered, and passed by the Senate late last year after ongoing negotiations with the House of Representatives. Although the bill passed with unanimous support in the Senate, it failed to clear the House in the waning days of the 114th Congress. Upon the bill's reintroduction in January, Lewis-Burke worked with committee staff to ensure the Society's priorities remained in the legislation. The bill passed the House, the final hurdle before heading to the White House for the president's signature, on March 7.
Sources and additional information:
The House and Senate Compromise National Aeronautics and Space Administration Transition Authorization Act of 2017 can be found at https://www.congress.gov/115/bills/s442/BILLS-115s442rfh.pdf.
The Senate's National Aeronautics and Space Administration Transition Authorization Act of 2016 passed in the 114th Congress can be found at https://www.congress.gov/114/bills/s3346/BILLS-114s3346rs.pdf.
Lewis-Burke Associates LLC, a leading Washington, D.C.-based government relations and consulting firm, represents the public policy interests of scientific societies and institutions of higher education. Lewis-Burke's staff of about 20 government relations professionals works to promote the federal research and policy goals of HFES and the HF/E community.