Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders on Monday introduced an amendment to block funding to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ space company, Vice reports.
Sanders’ amendment would halt $10 billion in funding, some of which would go to Bezos’ space company Blue Origin to provide redundancy for a project awarded to Elon Musk’s SpaceX last month.
The amendment says its purpose is simply to “eliminate the multi-billion dollar Bezos Bailout.”
The federal government awarded SpaceX a $2.9 billion contract to build a landing system on the moon. Sen. Maria Cantwell, who represents Blue Origin’s home state of Washington, introduced an amendment that could allow Bezos’ company to cash in as well.
“The implication of Cantwell’s amendment is that Blue Origin could receive a second contract and some of the funds for the project, if this added legislation passed Congress,” Vice reported.
Some Republicans join Bernie:
Sanders has said that “it does not make a lot of sense to me that we would provide billions of dollars to a company owned by the wealthiest guy in America.”
He was joined in opposition by Republican Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley.
"Why is the Senate preparing to give @amazon’s Jeff Bezos a $10 billion bailout?" he questioned on Twitter.
Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson joined Sanders as a co-sponsor of the amendment.
"Why would @SenSchumer and Democrats give billionaire Jeff Bezos a multi-billion dollar bailout?” he tweeted. “Happy to co-sponsor @SenSanders’ amendment.”
$130B competitiveness bill:
The amendments are related to the Endless Frontier Act, which is aimed at boosting American science and technology competitiveness with China.
The bill is expected to cost $130 billion and be passed by the Senate this week.
Sanders has also expressed concerns about a provision that would provide $52 billion to manufacturers to tackle a global microchip shortage, which has forced auto manufacturers to cut production.
"Yes. Congress should work to expand U.S. microchip production. No. As part of the Endless Frontiers bill we should not be handing out $53 billion in corporate welfare to some of the largest and most profitable corporations in the country with no strings attached,” he tweeted.
Sanders has called for the government to get company stakes in return for the funding.
"There has to be some negotiation and the taxpayers have got to get something in return," he told The Hill.