On Wednesday, Americans for Tax Reform declared its opposition to the proposed lift on the ban of RD-180 rocket engines in the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act.

In a letter to Congressman William Thornberry (R-Texas), Chairman of the Armed Services Committee, ATR President Grover Norquist explained:

I am writing in opposition to lifting the ban on RD-180 rocket engines in this year’s National Defense Authorization Act.

Privately-funded systems are on pace to cement America’s place as a world leader in launch delivery. Thanks to these exciting developments in privately-funded space systems, the U.S. has more than one launch vehicle capable of military hardware launches—enough to secure American interests through the early 2020’s.  There is no need to facilitate any Russian technology operating as a bridge to government subsidized systems of the future.  Instead, looking forward, the U.S. should focus on privately funded, private-sector solutions to both space exploration missions and military applications…

Of note to taxpayers, purchasing these Russian engines would deliver resources directly to the Russian military, spending money in direct opposition to U.S. taxpayer dollars being spent elsewhere in the budget.  

Privately-funded American companies are on the bleeding edge of space technology development. We should be finding ways of making the tax and regulatory system work for these entrepreneurs to ensure privately-funded, free-market American dominance of space launches instead of subsidizing legacy or future systems, much less an antagonistic regime already a source of  a drain on U.S. taxpayers.

Read the full statement here.