Economics/Class Relations

Sanders Says No Way to $10 Billion Taxpayer Handout to Bezos’ Space Company

By Sharon Zhang, Truthout

Last month, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) chose Elon Musk’s space exploration company SpaceX for a $2.9 billion contract to help develop the agency’s moon landing project, Artemis. Now, Congress is debating an amendment to a science and research funding bill that would give $10 billion for the same project to Jeff Bezos’s space company, Blue Origin, which lost the original contract. The company has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on lobbying Congress.

Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Washington) proposed the amendment to the Endless Frontier Act that would essentially directly award billions to Blue Origin. The company is based in Cantwell’s home state and, The Intercept reports, spent $625,000 lobbying the Senate in the first three months of this year alone. At least $50,000 of that has gone directly toward lobbying efforts for the Artemis program.

But there’s a chance that the amendment may not end up in the final bill. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) has offered a counterproposal without the $10 billion handout to Blue Origin. The purpose of the amendment, as he wrote in the amendment itself, is “To eliminate the multi-billion dollar Bezos Bailout.”

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