WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Aviation and Space, along with Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Roger Wicker, (R-Miss.), and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) introduced the bipartisan, bicameral American Space Commerce Act of 2020. At a time when the U.S. has steadily decreased its dependence on foreign rockets and launch infrastructure, the American Space Commerce Act would bolster U.S. leadership in the space industry, enhance public-private partnerships with American companies, and further increase U.S. innovation. U.S. Reps. Charlie Crist (D-Fla.) and Bill Posey (R-Fla.) introduced the House version of the legislation (H.R. 6873). The legislation is supported by Space Florida, SpaceX, United Launch Alliance, Aerospace Industry Association, Boeing, and Blue Origin.
“Following SpaceX and NASA’s successful and historic launch just last week, it’s important we foster a tax environment where the U.S. space industry can charter the next generation of space exploration,” Sen. Cruz said. “By allowing full expensing for space launch property, the American Space Commerce Act will strengthen America’s renewed leadership in space and bolster our commercial partners that are critical to that effort as we continue to explore the final frontier.”
“American leadership in the space industry has, and will continue to be, a pillar of our nation’s economy that every American should take pride in,” Sen. Rubio said. “The American Space Commerce Act will strengthen the space industry’s public-private partnerships with American companies and ensure that our nation continues to be a global industry leader. Our nation’s history is made brighter by our incredible achievements in space. I am proud that Florida’s Space Coast continues to be America’s gateway to the stars, including this past weekend when NASA and SpaceX successfully launched the first American astronauts from American soil on an American rocket to the International Space Station in almost a decade.”
“Our nation is competing against known adversaries like Communist China and Russia in the space launch industry, and we must put American interests and national security first,” Sen. Scott said. “I’m proud to sponsor the American Space Commerce Act to enhance our nation’s self-reliance in the space industry, prioritize American businesses, and ensure our nation remains a leader in space exploration.”
“This past weekend, Americans were thrilled to see the launch of two American astronauts from U.S. soil for the first time since 2011,” Sen. Wicker said. “This legislation would support investments in our domestic space industry at a critical time and ensure American companies are competing on a level playing field with their international rivals. I hope that with continued investment our nation’s space capabilities will remain the envy of the world.”
Specifically, the American Space Commerce Act of 2020:
- 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 that is launched from the United States, or other property or equipment placed in service for the purpose of facilitating 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 that originated from the United States.
America has steadily decreased its dependence on foreign rockets and launch infrastructure over the last few years. Last month, 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 is made possible in part by public-private partnerships with American companies. The American Space Commerce Act of 2020 would extend the full 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.