May 21, 2015

America Must Continue to Lead in Space Exploration

Washington, D.C. – House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA-23) opened debate on the House floor today, speaking in favor of the SPACE Act and shaping a future where America guides the world in space exploration.

Full remarks as prepared for delivery are below, or watch online here.

“I yield myself such time as I may consume.

“When I was a child, I learned that there was more to our universe than just my home and my town. There were people in great cities. There were buildings that stretched to the clouds. There were machines that could explore the character of atoms and telescopes that saw into distant galaxies. 

“There is so much in the world, and in recent decades, we have grown accustomed to seeing it all. Entire continents and countries are a plane ride away. The Internet is a window to the world from the comfort of our homes.

“In this time of innovation, what was once unimaginable is now common. What was once distant now feels so close.

“But we all know there is still so much left to learn. In my heart, I believe man’s journey of exploration and discovery has barely begun. 

“For generations—dating back to the dawn of humankind—every man, woman, and child has looked up to the stars in wonder. We imagined that the dots of light could reveal a glimpse of the future. And we thought that each night we saw the whole heavens stretching above us. 

“But as technology has given us new eyes to see the universe, we discovered that even on the clearest of nights we can only see a fraction of the stars in one small section of the galaxy.

“I still look up at the stars with wonder, and I know that we are only at the start of our mission into this greater frontier. You see, I spent time in school just like every kid in America learning about our first voyages into space and the moon landing. I remember how much pride I felt knowing that America did it first and that our flag still flies up there today.

“But that is not where we were meant to stop.

“America has always led because it’s in our nature to lead. We crossed over the mountains of the Appalachians and into the Great Plains. We climbed the Rockies to the golden coast of California and beyond, creating a nation in this land that has far surpassed all others in truth, hope, and liberty. We are a beacon of freedom and human dignity to every person that longs for the right to choose their own future. And we are a force for good unlike anything this world has ever known.

“And yet, in space, we are losing our ability to lead. We once stood up to the challenge of the Soviet’s Sputnik and made it to the moon, but today, our astronauts use Russian rockets and other nations are working to put people on Mars and beyond. 

“But we must go beyond. We must face the great unknown with that American spirit of adventure and hope. To paraphrase President Kennedy, we must lead mankind into space not because it is easy, but because it is hard and because that goal brings out the very best of our nation.

“There are people—scientists, engineers, astronauts, and entrepreneurs—out in the deserts of California who have a goal, the same goal so many Americans have had before them.

“It was our forefathers’ goal at the founding of this nation conceived in liberty. It was our goal when two young bicycle repairmen rose to the sands and waves of a North Carolina beach to fly. It was our goal when Chuck Yeager raced through the skies over California and broke the sound barrier. 

“That goal is to make our dreams a reality.

“Today, these 21st century explorers in California and across the nation want to bring man above the clouds, above the earth, and above the moon itself. And we should let them.

“Government has great power. That is true. But in America, we believe that power is limited. It cannot, should not, and will not be used to diminish our dreams.

“I stand here before you today, Mr. Chairman, presenting a bill. This bill asks us to make a decision: Do we concede our future to one of managed decline where others lead, or do we make a future where America and her people guide us in our journey to the stars?”