May 21, 2015

Commercial Space Shows American Exceptionalism

Washington, D.C. – House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA-23) managed the House floor during debate on the SPACE Act today and offered closing remarks in support of passage of the bill.

Full remarks are below, or watch online here.

“Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time that I may consume.

“Mr. Chairman, I have one question for everyone here: Do you believe America is exceptional?

“Fifty-four years ago, President Kennedy spoke to a joint session of Congress in this very chamber, and he set forth an astounding goal: to put an American on the moon before the end of the decade. Many doubted our ability to do that, but like America has done throughout our history, we proved them wrong. So, on July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong took one small step and changed the course of history.

“You see, President Kennedy’s vision is part of America’s fundamental character. We are pioneers. We always move forward. We never back down from a challenge, and beating the odds is in our DNA.

“This was the case for our very founding. We brought forth a new nation in pursuit of a more perfect union. With the winds of freedoms at our backs, we headed west to uncharted lands—relying on the same spirit of adventure that endures [in] the Central Valley of California to this day. 

“We watched two bicycle repairmen flew above the sand and waves on a beach in North Carolina—not because of government grants or Washington connections, but because they had the audacity to make a dream a reality. And today, dorm room start-ups and tech entrepreneurs are connecting our entire world, paving the way to tomorrow.

“The world looks to America because we give them a reason to look to us. We show them a vision of the future, and we deliver. But we can’t take our global leadership in innovation for granted. Today, we pay Russia $70 million for one seat on their rocket.

“Right now, there is a new generation of pioneers. They want to embark on the next stage of space exploration, and we should not hold them back. The truth is, Washington never comes up with next big idea. But we can support those innovators who do and create the best environment possible for them to succeed.

“You know, Steve Jobs, one of America’s great innovators, once said, “innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” That is true for people and for a country.

“Those words carry special meaning for everyone who ever dared to venture off the beaten path. It means something to the small business owners working at their kitchen tables and the inventors tinkering in their dorm rooms and garages. It means something to every kid who ever dreamed of space and who still dreams of leading us in a journey to the stars.

“So for all American pioneers—those who will lead our nation through the 21st century—I again ask: Do you believe America is exceptional? Because I do.

“I yield back the balance of my time.”