Memorandum of Disapproval of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Funding Bill
I am withholding my approval of H.R. 5495, the "National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act, 1987."
This legislation would authorize appropriations for 1987 for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA); authorize appropriations for the Office of Commercial Space Transportation in the Department of Transportation; establish a National Space Council in the Executive Office of the President to advise me on space-related matters; make numerous other amendments involving the Space Shuttle; amend the Land Remote-Sensing Commercialization Act in various respects; and authorize appropriations for a variety of programs of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the Department of Commerce.
The establishment of a National Space Council in the Executive Office of the President would constitute unacceptable interference with my discretion and flexibility in organizing and managing the Executive Office as I consider appropriate. Besides creating additional and unnecessary bureaucracy, the National Space Council would duplicate the functions of the interagency bodies—the Senior Interagency Group (Space), the Interagency Group (Space), and the Economic Policy Council-that already coordinate the development and implementation of space policy. Because the proposed National Space Council would unnecessarily limit my authority to organize and manage the Executive Office while offering nothing by way of improvement in space policy-making, I am compelled to reject it.
I find two other provisions of H.R. 5495 troublesome. First, by mandating certain space shuttle launch priorities, the bill does not adequately recognize the importance the Administration places on the development of a commercial space launch industry or my specific decision to allow NASA to launch certain foreign payloads. Second, section 111 of H.R. 5495 would impose a "buy America" restriction on certain NASA procurement activities, in violation of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade Agreement on Government Procurement. Enactment of this proposal could subject the United States to significant retaliation by other countries.
Withholding of my approval of this legislation should not be interpreted as any diminution of my support for our Nation's space program. I strongly support and affirm the goals of that program and of United States space policy to strengthen national security, maintain our leadership in space, and promote international cooperation in space. I also stress that my action on H.R. 5495 will in no way adversely affect the Federal government's ongoing space programs. Adequate funding for those programs for 1987 has already been appropriated in the recently enacted Continuing Resolution (Public Law 99-500).
The White House,
November 14, 1986.
Note: The original was not available for verification of the content of this memorandum.
Ronald Reagan, Memorandum of Disapproval of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Funding Bill Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/258149