- Jeff Bezos’ space company, Blue Origin, wants $10 billion to take part in a NASA moon-landing mission.
- Sen. Bernie Sanders on Monday tried to block that funding through an amendment to the Endless Frontier Act.
- Sanders has a long history of opposing Blue Origin, owned by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
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Bernie Sanders is trying to stop NASA giving money to Blue Origin, the space exploration company owned by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
Sanders on Monday submitted an amendment to the Endless Frontier Act, an act created in April with the goal of keeping the US space program competitive with other countries.
Sanders’ amendment, as spotted by The Verge’s Joey Roulette, states its purpose is to: “eliminate the multi-billion dollar Bezos Bailout.”
The “bailout” refers to an amendment submitted by Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell earlier this month. Cantwell’s amendment addressed NASA’s plans to return to the moon, codenamed Project Artemis, and called for an extra $10 billion in funding while instructing NASA to pick a second company to construct the moon landers for Artemis. Elon Musk’s SpaceX has already won a contract for the job.
Although Blue Origin is not mentioned in Cantwell’s amendment, the company has made a plea for an extra $10 billion in funding to be added to the program, per Ars Technica. Blue Origin is also headquartered in Washington State, which Cantwell represents.
In April, SpaceX won an exclusive $2.9 billion NASA contract to help return astronauts to the moon. Blue Origin filed an official protest with the Government Accountability Office challenging the contract, and the two companies handed out fliers on Capitol Hill last week attacking each other over Cantwell’s proposed legislation.
Sanders has a history of sparring with Jeff Bezos, largely over his role at Amazon. In September 2018, Sanders introduced a bill named “Stop BEZOS,” aimed at forcing the company to increase pay for workers. In October 2018, Amazon raised its minimum wage to $15 per hour.
Sanders was also a vocal supporter of a union drive at an Amazon warehouse in Alabama in March this year.