Sens. Cruz, Rubio, Colleagues Introduce Bipartisan American Space Commerce Act
As ranking member of the Senate Subcommittee on Aviation Safety, Operations, and Innovation, I, along with Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), and Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), recently introduced the bipartisan, bicameral American Space Commerce Act. At a time when the U.S. has steadily decreased its dependence on foreign rockets and launch infrastructure, the American Space Commerce Act would continue to bolster U.S. leadership in the space industry, enhance public-private partnerships with American companies, and further increase U.S. innovation. In addition, U.S. Rep. Bill Posey (R-Fla.) introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives. This bill was introduced previously in June 2020.
Upon introduction, I said:
"America's ingenuity and leadership in space is crucial, and our commercial partners are continually playing a huge role in expanding access to the final frontier. The American Space Commerce Act allows for full expensing of space launch property, creating a tax environment that empowers this next generation of space explorers rather than holding them back with bureaucratic barriers. I am proud to once again join this bicameral, bipartisan effort to ensure America maintains a competitive edge in space through partnerships that bolster space commerce and civil space exploration."
Sen. Rubio said:
"America's commercial space industry is thriving, and its unique partnership with NASA is producing once unthinkable innovation and technological advances. Florida is at the center of incredible space innovation, which produces good paying jobs necessary for a strong economy and scientific breakthroughs that improve our daily lives. As nations, such as China and Russia, work to overtake us, we must do everything possible to ensure America's leadership in space continues for generations to come."
Sen. Scott said:
"I'm proud to reintroduce the American Space Commerce Act to reduce dependence on our adversaries, including Communist China and Russia, and ensure the United States' space industry has the support needed to remain a leader in space exploration. We've worked hard to bolster this important industry in Florida, and this legislation will continue its growth, support American businesses and innovation and put American interests and national security first."
Sen. Wicker said:
"The United States has been a leader since the beginning of the space race, and it is vital that we maintain our leadership. This legislation would help us maintain our advantage by supporting investments in our domestic space industry, and therefore keeping American companies competitive. With a vibrant stateside industry, I am sure our nation's space capabilities will remain the envy of the world."
Sen. Padilla added:
"From the moon landing to Mars exploration, the United States has always been a world leader in space. The American Space Commerce Act will allow us to continue that leadership in innovation. This important bipartisan effort will enhance public-private partnerships for space exploration and ensure California and our nation remain at the forefront of space discovery."
Specifically, the American Space Commerce Act:
- Extends the additional allowance of depreciation deduction under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) for qualified domestic space launch property from December 31, 2023, until January 1, 2033, if the recovery period is less than twenty years;
- Defines "qualified space launch property" as a space transportation vehicle or payload launched from the United States or other property or equipment placed in service to facilitate a space launch from the United States.
- Only considers a spacecraft launched from the United States if the spacecraft is substantially manufactured in the United States or launched from an aircraft on a flight originating from the United States.
In May 2020, NASA and SpaceX completed the first successful launch of an American astronaut from American soil on an American rocket to the International Space Station in almost a decade. This launch was made possible in part by public-private partnerships with American companies. In addition, the American Space Commerce Act would extend the complete expensing treatment currently available to all businesses under the TCJA through 2022 to "qualified domestic space launch property" for an additional ten years beyond current law.
According to the U.S.- China Economic and Security Review Commission: "Beijing is executing a long-term strategy to exploit U.S. technology, talent, and capital to build up its military space and counterspace programs and advance its strategic interests at the expense of the United States. China's zero-sum pursuit of space superiority harms U.S. economic competitiveness, weakens U.S. military advantages, and undermines strategic stability." China is currently on track to complete most of its space exploration goals established by its 13th five-year plan, set in 2016. These goals include science satellites, deep space exploration, China's first uncrewed Mars mission, Earth observation and navigation, new space vehicles, and heavy-lift rockets.