McCarthy Introduces Legislation to Reinstate Ban on Russian Rocket Engines
Washington, DC – Today, Congressman Kevin McCarthy introduced legislation to reinstate congressionally imposed restrictions on the purchase of RD-180 rocket engines (Russian rocket engines) for military space launches. This bill repeals language from the Fiscal Year 2016 Omnibus Appropriations Bill that not only allows for the unlimited purchase of Russian rocket engines, but also undermines months of transparent debate and bipartisan policy the was signed into law in the Fiscal Year 2016 National Defense Authorization Act. Congressman McCarthy released the following statement on the legislation:
"Securing access to space is a national security priority and essential to leading in a 21st century economy. The ever-expanding access to the final frontier is fueled by technology, research, and development. Our policies should facilitate a competitive environment that provides the incentive to scale each component required to access space. This was achieved in the fiscal year 2016 National Defense Authorization Act that was signed into law. But in a last minute maneuver, a provision was tucked into an unrelated spending bill that provides an indefinite lifeline to Russian rocket engines to power American space launches. Placing such a critical aspect of our future in the hands of a country that names the United States as a threat is not only foolish, it undermines the ingenuity happening across the country."
After Russia’s unlawful annexation of Crimea and invasion of Ukraine, Congress responded by imposing sanctions against Russia. To supplement these sanctions, House Republicans included language in the FY15 NDAA that restricted the Air Force’s use of Russian-made engines (RD-180 rocket engines) for military space launches.
In response, Russia has maintained its aggression against Ukraine, and continues to prop up the Assad regime in Syria, and supply weapons to Iran. Accordingly, Congress again included language in the FY16 NDAA limiting the use of RD-180 engines. Both years’ NDAA was legislation that was considered and debated for a considerable amount of time. At no point in this exhaustive debate was the idea of lifting the ban on Russian rocket engines brought up.
Unfortunately, in the dark of the night, a provision was tucked away in the Omnibus without debate or consideration and unraveled the language in the both the FY15 and FY16 NDAA that restricts the purchase of Russian rocket engines.
McCarthy is joined by Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-AZ) and House Armed Services Committee Member Duncan Hunter (R-CA) in introducing this legislation.
A copy of the bill can be found here.