The following are reactions to S. 3729, the NASA Authorization Act of 2010, which passed in the House on Wednesday on a vote of 304-118.
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden
We thank the members of Congress for their thoughtful deliberations about NASA's future over the past months. Both the House and the Senate provided insight, ideas and direction that were truly exemplary of the democratic process. It is clear that our space program inspires passion and dedication across party lines, and for that we are truly thankful.
The way people watch television, consume news and even shop has been transformed by the Internet. And thanks to Wi-Fi and wireless broadband, consumers are no longer tethered to a desktop computer screen if they want to be entertained or informed. Instead, they can access a wealth of information via their cell phones, laptops, tablets, and numerous other wireless devices. But as people expect limitless connectivity while on the move, the wireless networks we use are coming under increasing strain.
Competition yields better products at lower cost, be it for automobiles, cell phones, or computer software. What would Windows 7 be like without Apple’s Mac operating system? A competitive marketplace generally offers consumers more choices and drives providers to be more responsive to customer needs. Yet, against this logic, the Defense Department is going out of its way to eliminate competition in the procurement of jet engines to power the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), soon to be the principal instrument of air power for the United States and its allies.
This month, the Federal Communications Commission could decide, on a 3-2 vote, to make broadband services eligible for undiluted, New Deal-style economic regulation, from price controls to “common carrier” obligations. The Democratic majority that will approve the change will claim it is taking a moderate “third way” approach, commit to forebear from imposing the most onerous potential rules, and even promise to continue the “light touch” approach that has governed broadband regulation since 2005.
At this point, the Internet is practically everything to everybody — research tool, room-mate finder, clearinghouse for ex-flames from high school. It’s also increasingly the place where people go to be entertained, whether by so-lame-it’s-funny videos or amazing new music.
Listening to my constituents is one of my chief priorities as a lawmaker. And I'm excited now to harness the fast-changing power of technology that's making it easier to stay in touch with my constituents in order to gauge their views and concerns.
I can hardly describe how excited I am about these favorable developments in the use of cutting-edge communications technology. It's not just about politics. Reversing a negative trend that many people feared had dangerous implications for the future is a boon to our community and our country.
Last week, the Veterans Administration announced that it was starting a pilot program to test its new paperless claims processing system. This project is long overdue but encouraging as the VA continues to improve its service to our veterans and become an organization for the digital age. While serving in my first term, I introduced and Congress passed legislation (PL 110-389) which required the VA Secretary to implement comprehensive information technology reform. This pilot project is the result of that requirement.