Gardner-Authored Amendment Passes Senate To Assure Continued Access To Space

Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO)

June 15, 2017 – Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) helped pass S.722, Countering Iran’s Destabilizing Activities Act of 2017 on Thursday. This legislation increases sanctions against Iran for their illicit ballistic missile tests, arms transfers, and support for terrorist activities.

Also included in the legislation was a Russia Sanctions Amendment that contains an array of new sanctions and policy reforms, including prohibiting the Executive Branch from lifting sanctions against Russia without congressional approval, and enforcing new sanctions to combat their cyber-attacks against the United States.

“While it will likely not get the attention and coverage it deserves, Republicans and Democrats took action together today against Russia,” said Gardner. “This bipartisan legislation is a strong message to Vladimir Putin: the United States will not stand idly by as you undermine democracy and human rights around the globe.”

The Countering Iran’s Destabilizing Activities Act of 2017 also extends and expands sanctions against Iran, including new sanctions on any entity that knowingly contributes to the continued ballistic missile tests by Iran. Also sanctioned will be any entities that provide financial support for other sanctioned parties.

Gardner’s Amendment Adopted To Protect NASA And Commercial Space Launches

During consideration of the legislation, Gardner led the fight by offering an amendment to protect NASA and commercial space launches, which provides a major economic boost to Colorado. The underlying language in S.722 would have unintentionally sanctioned our nation’s aerospace civil and commercial aerospace industry. Gardner’s bipartisan amendment will allow NASA to move forward with currently planned missions. Without its passage, NASA would potentially have to close up to seven space missions and billions of taxpayer dollars would go to waste.

“I offered a bipartisan amendment to the Iran sanctions bill today for one simple reason: it will ensure NASA and our commercial space industry will continue to be the world’s leader in aerospace,” added Gardner. “Without today’s amendment, U.S. astronauts would be forced to continue to rely on Russia for access to space for even longer. I’m proud Colorado is a leader in aerospace and I will continue to support my home state’s efforts as they play a critical role in space exploration. I’m thankful the Senate came together today to approve this amendment and reaffirm America’s leadership in space.”

Last year, Gardner ensured similar language was included in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 (NDAA). It is estimated that Gardner’s provision last year could potentially save the DOD as much as $5 billion.