News

Voice of America 4/24/97

CONGRESS / SPACE STATION

BYLINE=PAULA WOLFSON
DATELINE=CAPITOL HILL
CONTENT=
VOICED AT: 

INTRO:   MEMBERS OF THE U-S HOUSE OF 
REPRESENTATIVES SAY THE INTERNATIONAL
SPACE STATION PROGRAM WILL GO ON.  BUT
AS V-O-A'S PAULA WOLFSON REPORTS, THEY 
ARE SENDING A MESSAGE TO MOSCOW: DO 
YOUR PART, OR WE WILL BUILD IT WITHOUT YOU.

TEXT:   IT'S SPRING AGAIN IN WASHINGTON.  
AND ONCE AGAIN, MEMBERS ARE DEBATING
THE FATE OF THE SPACE STATION.

       ////ROEMER TEASE ACT////

YES, IT'S MY ANNUAL FIGHT.  YES, WHEN 
THE SPRINGTIME COMES AND THE CHERRY 
(TREE) BLOSSOMS ARE OUT, I OFFER 
THIS AMENDMENT.

           ////END ACT////

EVERY YEAR, INDIANA DEMOCRAT TIM 
ROEMER LEADS A MOVE IN CONGRESS 
TO TERMINATE THE PROJECT.  EVERY 
YEAR, HE FAILS.

         ////ROEMER ACT///

...AND I DO IT BECAUSE I BELIEVE IT IS 
THE RIGHT THING TO DO.  I BELIEVE THAT 
FOR THE TAXPAYER, FOR THE UNITED 
STATES OF AMERICA, AND FOR GOOD 
SCIENCE, WE SHOULD KILL THIS PROJECT.

      ////END ACT////

THIS TIME, THE VOTE WAS 305 TO KEEP THE 
PROGRAM AND 112 TO END IT.  BUT THAT 
DID  NOT  STOP MR. ROEMER.   WHEN HIS 
COLLEAGUES DEFEATED HIS AMENDMENT 
TO A BILL SETTING GUIDELINES FOR THE U-S 
SPACE AGENCY, HE BRIEFLY OFFERED 
AN ALTERNATIVE.

            ///ROEMER ACT////

THIS AMENDMENT IS VERY SIMPLE.  ALL 
IT DOES IS CANCEL OUT THE RUSSIAN
PARTICIPATION IN THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE
STATION.

           ///END ACT///

THE RUSSIANS ARE 11 MONTHS BEHIND IN 
MEETING THEIR COMMITMENTS TO (BUILDING 
SECTIONS OF) THE SPACE STATION.  
MR. ROEMER MAINTAINS THEY WANT 
AMERICAN TAX DOLLARS AS RANSOM.  
BUT IT SEEMS MOST MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE 
ARE WILLING TO GIVE THE RUSSIANS AT 
LEAST A FEW MORE MONTHS TO SHOW 
THEY CAN GET THE JOB DONE.

SOME SAY THE PROGRAM IS HELPING TO
KEEP BASIC SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH IN RUSSIA 
ALIVE DURING TOUGH ECONOMIC TIMES.  
OTHERS -- LIKE WISCONSIN REPUBLICAN JAMES
SENSENBRENNER -- SAY THE FINAL DECISION
 ON THE MATTER SHOULD REST WITH 
PRESIDENT CLINTON.  MR. SENSENBRENNER -- 
THE CHAIRMAN OF THE HOUSE SCIENCE 
COMMITTEE --  SAYS IF THERE IS A PROBLEM, 
CONGRESS IS  NOT  TO BLAME.

         ///SENSENBRENNER ACT///

THE DECISION TO INCLUDE THE RUSSIANS AND 
THE DETAILS ON THE INCLUSION OF THE 
RUSSIANS WERE MADE  NOT  BY THE  CONGRESS, 
BUT BY THE CLINTON ADMINISTRATION.  IF IT 
DOESN'T WORK OUT THE WAY THEY ADVERTISE, 
THEN THEY ARE  THE ONES THAT OUGHT TO 
ADMIT THEY MADE A MISTAKE.

           ///END ACT////

THE NASA (SPACE AGENCY) BILL THAT
EVENTUALLY CLEARED THE HOUSE (BY A VOICE 
VOTE -- THERE WAS NO RECORDED VOTE TALLY)  
OFFERS A STERN WARNING.  IT DOES  NOT  TERMINATE
RUSSIAN PARTICIPATION IN THE INTERNATIONAL
SPACE STATION, BUT IT DOES INCLUDE NEW 
ACCOUNTING AND MONITORING PROCEDURES 
TO MAKE SURE THE RUSSIANS FULFILL THEIR 
OBLIGATIONS.  LANGUAGE INSERTED BY MR. 
SENSENBRENNER GIVES THE PRESIDENT UNTIL 
AUGUST FIRST TO DETERMINE IF MOSCOW IS
LIVING UP TO ITS PROMISES.  IF RUSSIA FALLS
SHORT, THE UNITED STATES WILL GET THE JOB 
(SPACE STATION CONSTRUCTION) DONE
ELSEWHERE.  (THE BILL NOW AWAITS SENATE 
ACTION.) (SIGNED)

NEB/PW/RRM

24-Apr-97 5:00 PM EDT (2100 UTC)
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